Friday 22nd January
We all met at 8 am outside Master Divers. Not everyone had met or been diving with each other before, so we all introduced ourselves and met Jeff who was from another dive school. In total, there was 6 of us and we all made sure we packed our stuff and had everything ready including gloves and mesh bags. I then got everyone together and went through the plan of action. First going through the normal dive briefing we are all familiar with, however this time including the different objective of collecting rubbish.
I explained all the different items we may come across such as bottles, bags, rope etc. Some of these items may have been down for a long period of time, and may therefore need to be left in place if they look like they are now new homes to marine life. Tyres are a good example of items that are too big/heavy to lift and require special equipment such as lift bags to bring up, which was not the focus for this dive. Our aim as a team was to spread out in one big line and pick up any rubbish we could find such as plastic bags or bottles, collect everything in our mesh bags, then bring it to the surface.
The Dive itself was very pleasant, visibility was over 15 metres. We started on the sand alongside the edge of the reef and set off, keeping the coral on our right. Once we hit our designated turn pressure, we made the return trip back towards the boat at the center of the bay across the sand. Our most common finds were rope fragments and building material bags. Some of the rope and fishing lines had wrapped around some of the coral and one patch took a team of us 5-10 minutes to untangle and cut the coral free.
Once back on land, we all got ready for the afternoon boat for some more dives. Later on, I then sorted through and weighed all the rubbish once it had dried. We collected a total of 8.8kg which consisted of 75 rope fragments, 48 different pieces of plastic, a fishing hook, old parts of nets, and 13 different bits of fishing line. This data was then registered online at www.projectaware.com dive against debris. As part of the eco dives here at Master Divers, we like to try and run as many dive site clean ups as we can, alongside recycling and reducing the use of plastic within the shop. All this helps reduce our effect on the environment and helps keep our oceans clean for the next diver.