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Feb 05 2018

Abandoned Fishing Gear Removed from Oahu’s Coastal Waters

By Ken Staples, ODA Volunteer Diver

Aloha from Hawai'i Kai on Oahu. 

Perfect Day for Monthly Debris Removal Dive

We had another super successful clean-up dive sponsored by ODA on Saturday, January 13th. What a great partnership we enjoy!

We departed Island Divers on the Sea Fox captained by Joe Curcio. Led by Master Diver Mary Christensen, 15 divers headed out to Sea Cave for another clean-up at a very popular fishing site.

Volunteers Ken and Mary high fiveOn another debris-removal outing in December, volunteers Ken and Mary high five.

It was a beautiful Hawaiian day: clear skies, calm winds and 82 degrees. Luckily for us, the seas were calm as we rounded China Walls and headed to our dive area.

China Walls

Our dive crew this day: Henry Bennett, Kelsey Cawdrey, Mary Christensen (Master Instructor and Expedition Leader), Stephanie Durieu, Keith Ellison, Stephen Ford, Tim Hollandsworth, Crystal Lopez, Refujio Martinez, Andrew Monnig, Glenn Roberts, Ken Staples, Jennifer Towne, Joshua White, and Brandon Zunin.

[ODA Note: Big shout-out and thanks to each one of you awesome divers! We're so happy to partner with you for clean oceans.]

Ghost Gear Clings to Coral and Rocks

All of us divers performed a negative entry (i.e., a way to get into the water usually when there is a strong surface current) and headed to our target 45 feet down.

ODA Volunteer Divers plunge in

What an amazing dive site for a clean-up! The vertical wall drops to a ledge at about 45 feet. There is another drop off that falls further to the sea floor about 100’ down. Large amounts of fish, eels, and other marine life inhabit this area.  

Our plan of attack was to concentrate on a 50-foot area, and fill our bags and buckets with monofilament line, lead fishing weights, and other debris.

ODA Diver cleans ocean floor of debris

The team went right to work using cutters and shears to attack the huge amount of monofilament fishing line we found. We were all amazed at the amount of line we encountered that was tangled in the coral and rocks.

This Area of Marine Habitat Successfully Cleaned

In a very short 40 minutes, we had collected several hundred pounds of heavy-duty monofilament line and large fishing weights. As we headed up to our safety stop area, we were able to watch our Island Divers crew secure the large buckets to float bags and send the debris up to the surface.

ODA divers pull debris to surface

High fives all around as we all pulled the buckets onto the boat!

Just as we were getting ready to head back, our captain noticed a pod of whales breaching several hundred yards away from us. We headed their way and watched in amazement as they breached, fin slapped, and waved their tales. We couldn’t have asked for a better “thank you” for the work we just completed.

ODA Volunteer Dive and Boat Crew with marine debris they removedOur wonderful ODA-HI Volunteer Dive and Boat Crew with marine debris they removed! [Note from ODA: This article's author (Ken Staples) is standing, second from the right with ODA tank top on. Thanks for your reporting, Ken!] 

More Work to Be Done!

Even though we pulled a large amount of debris, there is more we need to go back and get. And unfortunately, it continues to accumulate as people fish off the cliffs of China Walls.

ODA removed this monofillament fishing gear

We all need to do our part to keep our oceans clean and protect the marine life that lives there. Whether you help out as a deckhand, a diver, or you make donations to fill the fuel tank, each activity makes you part of the solution.

Heading back to the harbor, we were “talking story” about the great clean-up we just finished, and the huge amount of work that still waited for us to attack.  

Thank you to ODA for your support and partnership with Hawai’i. Together we will clean up and protect our ocean here in Hawaii. And I’m looking forward to it!

Note from ODA: If you live in Oahu and want to join Ken, Mary, and the Island Divers gang, please fill out our crew application, and hopefully, you’ll be diving with us next month!

 
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