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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: A Family Cleanup in São Lourenço

Microplastics: A Family 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 Cleanup 24/7

Ocean Cleanup 24/7

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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Island Wide Cleanup - Building a Community that Cares

Island Wide Cleanup - Building a Community that Cares

Our usual cleanups that began as a family affair have blossomed into something much more wonderful....We began inviting friends to join and then friends of friends came along, and somewhere along the line our cleanups matured into gatherings and official events for our island community.

In December, we held our first community cleanup in Anjos which kicked off our Winter Cleanup Sessions with such good vibes that we decided to make it an annual series of events during the winter season.

With that experience under our belt, for Earth Day, we wanted to tackle something special that would encourage even more volunteers to come out, and so came the notion of doing an island wide cleanup, thinking that if it was successful, we could make it a tradition.

Once we set out to do it, it kind of gained a life of it's own - first our incredible volunteer leaders, then sponsors, and many others came on board helping us to promote it. 

And despite having to change the date last minute due to weather, it turned out pretty well! We had about 80 volunteers positioned at all of our major ports - Anjos, Praia Formosa & Prainha, São Lourenço and Maia. With their help, by kayak, boat, truck and on foot we removed more than 1/2 TON or 500 kilos of ocean plastic and marine debris from the coastline of our small island in only 2 hours. And perhaps best of all, we had fun doing it together!

From the 80 volunteers, about 15 children joined us, actively lending a hand and raising awareness for the future.

We are grateful to the local Asas Atlantico Radio Station who helped us to promote the event (we had our first radio interview in Portugese!).

We are super appreciative for the support from two of our local restaurants, Bar Anjos and Ponta Negra as well as the Associaçao dos Amigos do Maia who all came onboard without even asking!! They all made sure our volunteers were well hydrated and fed!  

Many thanks again to everyone who helped make it happen - It is such an amazing feeling to see people come together and work to create something positive, to care for our ocean and appreciate the natural beauty of our island. 

Santa Maria, best Island ever.

🙌🏼🐬🌊

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Ilha do Sol: Island Paradise in the Azores

The Açores (Azores in English) are a group of 9 volcanic islands located in the middle of the Atlantic, half-way between Europe and the Americas - quite simply the middle of nowhere.

Our island, Ilha de Santa Maria, is known as the "Ilha do Sol”. When describing it, they say it is like the child of Hawaii and Ireland. There are more cows on the island than people. Only one traffic light. At times it seems as if the entire population of roughly 5,000 knows each other; if not by face, then by car or truck. We have seamount diving, some surf, small forests, old ocean pools and a couple of waterfalls; walking trails abound, and a little charming town by the name of Vila, which we like to call “the City".

Here, time stops, and the outside world is forgotten...

 

 
Sailboat at dusk, São Lorenço Santa Maria Azores
Black and White Hibiscus Bloom
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After the Storm: Winter Family Cleanup Sessions

After the Storm: Winter Family Cleanup Sessions
image credit Alex Nabaum

It is during the winter when the winds are high and storm surges strong that keeping our coastline clean becomes a real challenge. Just after the storm ends & the sun comes out, our work begins. At low tide, you can usually find our family at one of the local beaches cleaning up what we can, and if the waves are good after, we hop in for a bit a surf. 

This year, we decided to share the tradition and invited others from our community to join. And so, the Winter Family Cleanup Sessions were born. We hosted our first organized beach cleanup with @monk_surf along the Northern coast of Anjos on December 2nd this year.

We weren't sure what the turnout would be, considering our Facebook Event had only 3 attendees confirmed and one of them was our own family lol : ) But 22 volunteers (both adults and children) showed up to participate which was awesome!

We met some great people and successfully removed over 100 pounds of ocean plastic, ghost gear & trash together from the rocky beach in under 2 hours. Bar dos Anjos, the local restaurant and bar, generously offered free water to all volunteers.

Most importantly, we had fun empowering the next generation of kids to make a difference : ) With good vibes all around, we will definitely be doing it again -and maybe even catching a wave or two after...

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Slow Island Life & Days in the Sand

Slow Island Life & Days in the Sand

 Our slow island life continues into the winter. With the kids in school and with opening our store in Vila, we still have ample time for trips to the beach for some surf and bare foot morning cleanups...though the water is getting chilly now, and we need our cozy socks and certainly enjoy our wood burning stove for warming up afterwards.

 Two and a half years have passed now for us here in Santa Maria- writing it doesn't seem like much - only two and a half. But that small number sums up our life here, and so it feels much more substantial than it sounds - this two and a half.

 Two and a half years - that's 902 days. Enough time to completely shift & restart, to build community, to make new friends, to find balance and begin to thrive. Time to create, to turn inspiration into something tangible.

Enough time to feel at home.

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Going with the Flow & Aligning Work with Our Values

Going with the Flow & Aligning Work with Our Values

Flashback to almost two years ago- to our makeshift home studio where we first began tinkering with creating jewelry from ocean plastics. 

You see, we had moved to the island of Santa Maria to start a new life - and had no idea what we would be doing outside of raising our children, slowing down and learning to grow green things in the earth. 

In creating the jewelry, it sort of happened naturally - the concept evolved from us simply being salty ocean lovers who found ourselves at the beach everyday combined with seeing the ocean plastic problem first hand.

We were surfing, doing family cleanups, and along the way discovered these “treasures” that were too beautiful to take to the recycling center; so we began collecting these ocean stones and experimenting with ideas / dreaming up designs for jewelry.

To align work with our values and daily life was always a goal, to turn work into practice, practice into lifestyle...and then, well, we do what we do - create. And that is how the jewelry and the brand was born.

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