The Clean Ocean Sailing initiative removes plastic waste from areas of England’s coastline that are inaccessible by foot.
The Clean Ocean Sailing crew aboard the 112-year-old Annette.
The Cornish coast — with its high cliffs and inlets, lining the peninsula that juts out from England’s southwest corner — has a long association with pirates. Its rocky coves, secret anchorages and long winding creeks have historically been a haunting ground for seafaring scoundrels and salty sea dogs.
Today, it is the home of an entirely different breed of renegade. Since 2017, Steve Green and Monika Hertlová have been setting sail in their 112-year-old boat to remove plastic pollution from the coastline’s worst affected areas. In the three years since they began operating — under the banner of Clean Ocean Sailing and alongside a team of dedicated volunteers — they have removed over 44,000 pounds of plastic waste from areas of land that are inaccessible by foot.
I met Steve and Monika in the galley of their boat, which is also their home, and which they share with their one-year-old son, Simon, and their labrador, Rosie. They pored over maps and weather reports as 90 bananas swung from the ceiling above them. The fruit, along with other supplies, had been donated to the team by local businesses eager to support what is meant to be a 60-mile round-trip voyage to the remote Isles of Scilly, an archipelago some 30 miles southwest of Cornwall…