Monday, July 1, 2013

Healthy Oceans Project beach clean-up with Artemis Racing

Team Artemis and friends at Treasure Island with our haul.   photo: ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget

There doesn't seem to be a shortage of sunshine in San Francisco lately and this is great... the type of weather we've been having is bringing out the best in everyone. There are more people out and about on the weekends taking advantage of these crisp clear hot SF days than I've seen in many years. Outdoor concerts and events are announced constantly and it's become slightly difficult to make time for everything.
The Beach Clean Up day presented by the America's Cup has been an event dialed in to my radar since announced, the concept of having each of the AC teams cleaning the shore in different dedicated areas of SF at the same time was a great idea. Add to this a little healthy competition and a volunteer sign-up system based on team preference AND this beautiful weather... and we found ourselves a lot of smiling faces with gloves and trash bags getting down and dirty on Saturday morning. All in the name of the Healthy Oceans Project.

Joining the gang from Artemis Racing was my natural preference and at 9am it was time to power down my coffee and walk over to the 'little french navy barracks' to catch a ride with Loick. The sun was already starting to heat up the City and I was hoping the complimentary t-shirt mentioned in the submission form would be a nice thin cotton. We walked down the block to the corner cafe to connect with Artemis sailors Julien Cressant and Iain Percy, sitting and chatting a bit before heading on the road. The Artemis Team territory for clean-up was out at Treasure Island and we were halfway across the Bay Bridge with Loick at the helm of the 'navy' car at 9:55... right on schedule and ready to meet our teammates-in-trash to get down to business.

We arrived and most of the Artemis team were already there mingling with the volunteers and snacking on sailboat-shaped butter cookies w/ blue frosting sails... several children had shown up to meet the guys and they were happy to see the big turnout... I was too. Sometimes I'll hear feedback from friends about a promotional sporting 'meet the team' event where the team representatives are scarcely the rock stars, and it's disappointing to only get to meet one or two of the athletes and a couple reps from marketing & support crew. Today was very different, we had the communications and shore support AND all of the Artemis boys. It was fantastic to see that the team had made this event a priority even though it meant sacrificing a couple rare hours of their sacred Saturday days off. I signed in and put on my shirt (yes! nice cotton! ..and cool design too)

We had a debrief from Genny Tulloch, posse'd up and set out to find some 'treasures'... I split off with Loick and Genny and a volunteer named Kate, we decided to tackle the west side of the island.
It didn't take long to find some goodies and we started to spread out as we filled up our bags. I noticed a handful of the Artemis guys and friends were also descending down the rocks about a hundred yards away from us like little swat team spiders. I had gotten pretty far down the shore when I spotted a piece of silver fabric flapping in the surf. I tried tugging on it with no give, quickly realizing it was a massive boat cover that was woven in and out of the rocks, obviously washed in and trapped there for some time. I pulled at that thing and moved rocks for the next fifteen minutes and finally freed it up as the rest of the gang passed me and continued on down the coastline. I dragged the tarp back to be weighed in and disposed of properly, I killed three huge glasses of water, and took off toward the east this time to seek out more trash.

I bumped into KTVU who was there to film some ambiance for the 10 o'clock news and I sent them down in the direction where I had seen Curtis Blewett and Andy Fethers from Artemis. Before I knew it, my bag was about full and I made my way for the trash collection HQ again. Once I was there everyone else started trickling in with their stuffed bags and it was a good time to hop on board the weigh-in detail. I grabbed the clipboard and began tallying up the bags as they were weighed and processed... the guests and the Artemis team were laughing and having fun over what was left of the melting sailboat cookies. Some autographs were signed and well-wishes exchanged, and we all splintered off into the parking lot with the sun blazing overhead, driving back home with a nice feeling of satisfaction and the imminence of a well deserved nap.
In the car Ju said: "That was a really good morning. It's so important for the environment that we keep on top of this stuff" 

Tallying up the day's catch.   photo: ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget

One thing I'd like to recognize is that the shoreline of Treasure Island is relatively quite clean. As a native of the SF Bay Area this made me somewhat proud, I've partcipated in beach clean up events before and it can get pretty gnarly with needles and oil and repulsive finds. It was nice to see that the residents and visitors of Treasure Island have some good respect for the area. We didn't find anything too out of the ordinary... a suitcase, a pair of Nike trainers, an ID card, a couple of beach balls, several mylar balloons... and one of the Artemis dudes found 10 bucks: an instant Healthy Oceans Project donation!
Definitely the most disgusting trash item prevalent on the island was the plethora of cigarette butts, as evidenced by a sweet girl who came to weigh in her very light (yet very full) bag. "It's not going to weigh much" she said. "I've been picking up cigarette butts the whole time"... ackk. it was really charming and sad.
So, if you are a smoker and you're on Treasure Island, Watch Your Butt !!!

Big thanks to Artemis Racing and the America's Cup Event Authority for the solid endeavor and the cool day.
as Loick said,  "Let s do that again soon"

more photos on his page:  Artemis beach clean up on Treasure Island


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