Liveaboard boaters in Cow Key Channel (our boat neighbors) and friends gathered on Earth Day, April 22, to clean up debris and do our part. Winds often push debris and litter into the seawall, trapping it in the mangroves and in the shallow waters of the channel.

The weather was perfect for a fun, feel-good day as we rounded up enough trash to fill our van and hauled it to the dump. We found plenty of cans and bottles (sadly, Florida does not have a bottle return program like other states and they often end up in the ocean) and plastic along the bike path seawall. We also swept broken glass, bottle caps, and cigarette butts along the sidewalk.

Cleaning the Mangroves for Earth Day

Phase two was the fun part: we boarded kayaks and tooled around the channel picking up debris and taking breaks for cold beverages. There’s still debris in parts of the Keys from Hurricane Irma – including some hidden in the channel. .

“The reason people come to Key West is because we have a beautiful island. I live here for that reason and in order to preserve that beauty, we must all work together to keep it clean – one mangrove at a time,” said Amber Garcia, a bartender and deckhand who came out to volunteer.

Recently, Key West took a step forward in protecting the reefs by banning the sale of harmful sunscreens, although the Florida State legislature is working to overturn that. More needs to be done to help protect our gorgeous waters, and this Earth Day clean up was one of many around the Keys.

After the cleanup, we headed to the party barge for some barbecue, reggae, and sunsets.

Dream. Drift. Discover

-Zappa and Amber