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Fresh Start: January Beach Cleanup in São Lourenço

Fresh Start: January Beach Cleanup in São Lourenço

Thank you to all 24 of our volunteers who came out for our first official cleanup of the year in São Lourenço this Saturday!

We worked together for just under 2 hours to clean the beaches near the pool and towards the port. In total we gathered 76kg of marine litter 🙌.

We spent the first 40 minutes meditatively picking microplastics from the sand, as each wave washed ashore new plastics. Afterwards we moved North on to larger items further down the coast, the bulk of which collecting felt more rewarding.

Witnessing ocean pollution first hand and it's affects on wildlife inspires change in our daily lives and impacts the choices we make.

Neon Joyride Beach Cleanup Marine Waste Azores

marine life beach cleanup pollution awareness

Neon Joyride Beach Cleanup Event São Lourenço Santa Maria Azores

Beach combing Azores Neon Joyride Cleanup Event

 

Sharing this experience with children is always inspiring. On these excursions, we have the chance to connect with nature and with each other. We come across wonders from the sea as well as marine trash. And there is always the opportunity to have fun, to learn and witness something marvelous.

...the many scuttling crabs, sargassum & algae, various jellyfish, several dead small fishes- manta ray and shark egg pods...

Manta Ray Egg Pod Wonders of the Sea

Baía de São Lourenço Santa Maria Açores

Volunteers Neon Joyride Events Beach Cleanup Santa Maria Azores

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Roteiro Intercultural: Tour & Cleanup

Roteiro Intercultural: Tour & Cleanup

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our Roteiro Intercultural for Human Rights Week celebrating our story and connection to Santa Maria - the community and places that helped to establish this bond. Thank you to Cresaçor for inviting me to guide you on this journey and to all of you for listening : )

Our tour commenced at our store in Vila do Porto and went on to Santo Espirito to the Miradouro in Salto. From there, we went down to the Baía de São Lourenço and did a cleaning, 81kg of marine litter in 20 minutes! Amazing!! Afterwards, we headed to Anjos, where we celebrated our one year anniversary of registered community coastal cleanups! And enjoyed a picnic near the sea.



We are so grateful for such a wonderful community and to have made our home on such magical island. Every interaction weaves more magic into our lives.

A special thank you to Antonio, our driver and to the Camera Municipal for providing transportation and Mr. Domingos Barbosa for acting as our ambassador.

photos: Roberto Sousa Moura

 

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Cool Azores: Blue Azores

Cool Azores: Blue Azores

Amazing weekend spent at the Caloura Hotel and Resort in São Miguel with 25+ organizations from the Azores to act on protecting our ocean and island environments.

Thank you to Blue Azores, the Oceano Azul Foundation and the Waitt Institute for bringing us all together and for organizing this amazing initiative! Additional thanks to the Regional Secretary of the Ambiente for joining us and supporting our oceans!

We spent a day discussing the future of our ocean and coastal areas and presented action plans to improve our local environments, island by island.

A gathering of ocean lovers would not be complete without a coastal cleanup! So we gathered at the beautiful cove near the hotel and spent an hour cleaning litter from the coastline.





In 2022 the Blue Azores initiative will push to protect 30% of the Azorean Ocean. That is 300,000m2! - That's an incredible project with so much love and passion for preserving marine life and keeping our coastlines clean.



An honor to be amongst such a beautiful group of inspiring people. Great to connect with you all! The world is a better place with you in it! 🙌🌊✨

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Wet Winter Cleanup: Praia do Colombo in Anjos

Wet Winter Cleanup: Praia do Colombo in Anjos

Even the wet winter weather couldn't keep this crew of ocean lovers away! 9 people showed up to volunteer for Sunday's cleanup. 3 kids and 6 adults (2 are missing from our group photos at the end, already warming their toes and drying off indoors).

We cleaned the beach in Anjos at Colombo (locals know it as Olga's) for about an hour in pouring rain and wind. We collected 39kg of plastics- the majority of which were smaller plastic fragments and bottle caps- which seems to be specifically prevalent at this location.



Thank you all for your amazing energy and spirit and effort! You guys are such troopers! We thought when we arrived we may need to cancel but instead everyone braved the weather and thanks to you, the coastline is a bit cleaner! We enjoyed meeting some new faces as well!


A special thank you to Helder Gonçalves and the Associação Escravos da Cadeínha for providing a warm dry beautiful space for sheltering us from the storm and for making delicious coffee for our volunteers.



Best island ever!

This brings our total haul this year to 1350kg - the majority of which has been microplastics! Join us for our next and final cleanup event of the year on 4 December. 🙌🌊🖤

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Annual Escola Azul Cleanup: Kids Remove Microplastics from Praia Formosa

Annual Escola Azul Cleanup: Kids Remove Microplastics from Praia Formosa

Spent a perfect day yesterday with the first grade classes from Vila do Porto and Airport Schools who held their annual cleanup as a part of their Escola Azul program led by Florbela Cunha.

Amazing to see these kids at work, cleaning the beach at Praia Formosa, tiny hands and tiny plastics!



They collected 40kg of microplastics and 30kg of wood debris with help of a few parents and teachers.

This time of year, microplastics begin to scatter the coastline all around the island, it's a seemingly never ending problem.

Educating and raising awareness is a huge part of turning off the plastic tap and resolving the issue. And ocean literacy is what Escola Azul is all about!

Amazing work guys!! Proud of you all!! The ocean and island thanks you.

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Boa Onda: Coastal Cleanup and Snorkel Event

Boa Onda: Coastal Cleanup and Snorkel Event

What made this cleanup special, in addition to the amazing people, was that we were able to enjoy the water!

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our event. A special thanks to both Marion & Steffen and Mario at Wahoo Diving Azores, MONK Surf and to Armando at Clube Naval Santa Maria for making this event possible. Without these amazing organizations we would have no pilots, boats, or snorkel gear or wetsuits for our volunteers!

We had 25 volunteers including 6 kids join our event. Among those were our friends with their sailboat, so we had a total of 3 boats!

We disembarked shortly after 10am and headed north from the marina to Mar da Barca. Upon arrival, we discovered the waves were too large to make a safe landing. This was unfortunate as Mar da Barca really is in need of a good cleaning! We could easily have filled all 3 of our boats with marine litter. But, it will have to wait for better conditions or perhaps a cleanup & hike by land with trucks at the top to help carry away the garbage another day. So stay tuned!

With our location changed, we turned around and headed south in search of a cleaning site where we could safely land- 2 boats ended up in Laracha which had perfect conditions. (See our video!)

 

Neon Joyride Snorkeling Cleanup with Wahoo Diving Azores and Clube Naval Santa Maria Neon Joyride Wahoo Diving Clube Naval Cleanup Laracha Santa Maria Azores

Our team of volunteers were super! They snorkeled and cleaned the entire coast of the cove, swimming bags of marine litter back to the boats. Meanwhile, our friends in the sailboat returned to the marina beach to cleanup there.

Our rendevous back at the marina for some warm tea provided by Márcia Santos and time to weigh the trash!

We ended up clearing 62 kilos of garbage and ocean plastic from the coastline and having spent a beautiful day with great people on and in the water. Not bad.

Until next time... 

💛🙌🐬🌊💙

 

 Neon Joyride Wahoo Diving Clube Naval Cleanup Crew Marina Vila Do Porto Santa Maria

 

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Microplastics: Families Cleanup in São Lourenço

Microplastics: Families Cleanup in São Lourenço

 

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our family beach cleanup in São Lourenço yesterday!

We had 20 volunteers and spent two hours clearing microplastics from the beach just north of the pool. The images in this post feature a fraction of what we were able to clear from the beach. The team did a great job!

We made new friends, and afterwards enjoyed some waves and the pool. Our volunteers even surprised us with homemade cookies and vegan brownies!

We will be sorting the plastics this week to separate out nurdles to join others from around the world for artivism project @check.mate.project in Belgium to raise international awareness to micro plastic pollution issue in our oceans.

The rest of the plastics, will be sent to the recycling center.

Thank you * Obrigada * Merci * Gracias to our volunteers from
🇨🇦 🇫🇷 🇵🇹 🇪🇸 🇺🇸 🇧🇪 🇸🇪 🇳🇿

Neon Joyride Microplastic Cleanup Crew Sao Lourenco Santa Maria Azores

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Ocean Talk Series: Sónia Sousa Ell

Ocean Talk Series: Sónia Sousa Ell

So...We had the idea in addition to our cleanups to start something we like to call our Ocean Talks series.  Basically, we invite other ocean lovers to share their experiences and passion for the ocean and marine life with others here in Santa Maria. The goal is to educate and to inspire --to build and strengthen our community of ocean lovers. I mean, you protect what you love, right? ✨🐬

This weekend we held our first Ocean Talk with guest speaker Sónia Sousa Ell, founder of Quando +1 e = -1 from Lisbon, Portugal.

Sónia is an avid diver and shark lover who specializes in underwater cleanups, sharing her love for the ocean and in her spare time enjoys teaching ocean literacy & helping to raise awareness regarding marine pollution.

It was fun! We had a small international and local mixed group of ocean lovers, divers, sailors and free-divers, and some good conversations.

Special thanks to Sónia for joining us, for offering her presentation in English for the international audience and for sharing her passion! Another special thanks to Armando of Clube Naval for providing us a space & projector.

Até à próxima!

 

 

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Ocean Love 24/7: Coastal Cleanup Event

Ocean Love 24/7: Coastal Cleanup Event

In honor of Plastic Free July and to show that our Love for the Ocean is 24/7, this July 24th, we thought we should plan something special. So, we partnered with Clube Naval here in Santa Maria, Azores to coordinate an impromptu cleanup by sea- accessing beaches and coves of the island that you can only get to by boat. 

Due to weather and sea conditions, we focused our efforts for the cleanup on the Southern side of the island at the rocky Baia de Figueral, followed by a refreshing swim at local favorite - the sandy beach of Prainha.

 

We had 2 boats, piloted from the Vila do Porto Marina by Frederico & Armando of Clube Naval and about 20 volunteers, a mix of both locals & tourists. As our events are always family friendly, our volunteers included a mix of both adults & children.

The morning started out a bit overcast, but by the time we were well into our cleanup, the sun came out and it was a beautiful day!! The post cleanup snorkel and swim made for a perfect ending. A day spent on and in the water in Santa Maria is just heaven.

Together we removed 120kg or 265lbs of marine waste and trash from the coastline, and most of all we had fun doing it!  Looking forward to the next 24/7. Thank you to Clube Naval for your continued support and to all of our volunteers for making this happen!

 

 

 

 

 

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Cleanup & Hike: Praia dos Lobos, Santa Maria Azores

Cleanup & Hike: Praia dos Lobos, Santa Maria Azores

Praia dos Lobos is a popular sunset viewing location for coastal hikers and locals on the North West corner of our island. It's an easy trek and not far from the local ocean pool, playground, bar/restaurant and small seaside community of Anjos -Making it a great location for a family friendly cleanup event.

Unfortunately this rocky  beach (mixed with sand) is full of micro-plastics. (Plastics small enough to scoop up in your hand like grains of rice). The North and Westerly winds deposit them along the shoreline especially after larger seas, heavy winds & storms. The micro-plastics are usually a mix of preproduction plastic nurdles and plastics that have degraded or broken down with time (usually decades) spent in the ocean. This kind of plastic is extremely difficult to clean (especially from amongst the rocks) and aside from ghost gear is the most dangerous plastic pollution for coastal wildlife and sea life and it gets into the food chain. It is estimated that today 1 in every 3 fish in the ocean contains plastic. 

This is why we chose the location for our next community cleanup with the OceanLit Cleanup & Coastal Conservation Project and our local Marina's organization: Clube Naval.

We lucked out as we had beautiful beautiful weather conditions and worked for just over 2 hours with 24 volunteers (locals, sailors on long stopovers, divers & tourists alike), 5 children and 3 dogs and in this time we were able to remove 37kg of microplastics and 50kg of marine waste & fishing materials. (keep in mind these tiny plastic pieces way well under 1gram each!) And that felt good. 

Thanks to our local Santa Maria Blues Organization in Anjos, we were able to enjoy a seaside BBQ (vegan friendly options too!) with volunteers to celebrate our efforts. Not sure which is better - working to make a difference or building community.  : ) I guess the answer is both. Building community while doing good, that's where it's at! 

 
 

 

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