Pyrates complete another successful trash haul

By Jody Conrad | Special to the Press Gazette

In keeping with their mission of river cleanup, 47 Blackwater Pyrates took to the river Saturday, May 8 and hauled in the trash.

“One of our three key missions is river cleanup,” said Blackwater Pyrate Captain Lucky. “Since we, like everyone else, had to cancel our event last year due to COVID restrictions, it was important to us to get out there this year, especially since we had a major hurricane last fall.”

City of Mobile trash cans were rescued from the river during the cleanup.

While several tons of trash filled up the KSRB supplied dumpster, the haul was not nearly what the Pyrates were expecting. 

"Iron Leg" Mike Pickett suspected that high waters washed bank-side trash to higher ground.

Barb Cook, aka "Prickly Pear," fixed tacos for the group.

“On my boat we found very little trash along the river banks,” Pickett said, “we concluded that Hurricane Sally washed much of the usual trash ashore and into the wooded areas out of our reach.”

And what exactly constitutes "the usual trash?" Sue and Al Griswold described the most commonly found items: “the majority of what we picked up was beer bottle and plastic water bottles. What is it with boaters enjoying our waterways and throwing their garbage overboard?  It just doesn’t make sense.”

John Kaldashian and Chris Christopher earned the KSRB hats for bringing in the most trash.

Plenty of other cleanup participants were also left scratching their heads in perplexity.

Tammi Wilson and her crew spent their time at Ski Beach.

Pyrates load up on gear and prepare to embark on the recent cleanup event.

“We found about 100 empty MRE packages and small propane tanks,” she said. “I guess folks were camping there and just left their trash behind. Then of course there were several garbage bags full of – guess what - beer bottles and water bottles.”

Bob and Pam Goodwin hauled in a 40-foot section of silt fence, and Steve Owensby and his crew had a load of discarded clothes and shoes. Ken Ponsell and his crew drug two entire trees out of the waterways, and scored a red children’s wagon. Chris Christopher climbed a tree to retrieve a pallet lodged in Pond Creek. Pete and Suzanne Morgan scored a gas tank and several life jackets.

Pyrate Patch and guests KSRB board member Francis Andrews also retrieved a city of Mobile trash can.

Multiple broken lawn chairs ended up in the dumpster, but the most interesting finds were city of Mobile trash cans found near Russell Harbor.

BWP Captain Lucky pronounced the day a success, and added “along with our annual river cleanup, we are ‘Pyrates with a purpose’ and cleaning up the waterways is an ongoing effort with us.”

A load of pallets and trash found in the Blackwater River comes in after being picked up.