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News and Media

News and Media

By Founder and President Kurt Lieber

Our volunteer divers in Hawai’i decided to spend their Valentine’s day, showing how much they love Mother Ocean.


On Sunday, February 14th, our Underwater Photographer and Outreach Coordinator Ken Staples and Oahu Dive Team Coordinator Glenn Roberts rounded up 11 divers to take the plunge and do an underwater cleanup of our favorite site on Oahu: China Walls!

Spitting Cave

As you know by now, we’ve been doing cleanups of this site for four years, and the debris just keeps coming.  But so, too, do the animals that frequent this reef.  Just think if we hadn’t removed the tens of thousands of feet of fishing line and two tons of lead weights! It would be a toxic jungle down there for sure.

In addition to Ken and Glenn, the divers were: Henry Bennett, Victoria Cox, Brooke Hoffman, Lukas Kaplan, Ed Sisino, Zach Trevathan, Sophia Valenzuela, and Kathryn Werback.

Volunteer Ocean Defenders Crew

Also onboard was Cindy Staples, who was out to take these great pictures for us, as well as spending the day with her favorite Valentine: Ken! 💗

The seas were pleasant on the short ride out to the dive site, and the weather was perfect. As with every outing, the divers got a briefing from both our partner Island Divers Hawaii's Dive Master Kevin Wong and our own Glenn Roberts.

Dive briefing
Glenn's dive briefing

Captain Tim motored really close to the wall and dropped all the divers off within 100 yards of the cliffs.

Divers at surface

Teamed up with their dive partner for safety, they quickly descended to about 50 feet and commenced work.  The divers who’ve been cleaning this area with ODA for the last several years noticed there are a lot more animals hanging around this area than there were when we first started working here. 

Check out the photo below of a large school of fish milling about.  This was a welcome sight!

ODA Divers with school of fish

As the divers were collecting fishing lines from the coral heads, they spotted four green sea turtles snoozing in a cave.  Ken got this picture of one of them just after it woke up and was leaving the cave to go up for a breath of air.

Honu turtle

One of the turtles they saw had a fishing hook embedded in its flipper and the fishing line was trailing from it.  Unfortunately, the divers couldn’t catch the turtle and had to watch him swim away.  It looked like the hook was really rusty, which doesn’t sound good… but it looked like the hook was about to fall off.  We hope!

Crew with Catch of the Day

Above you see our ODA-Hawai’i crew with their catch of the day!

Because they had just done a cleanup of the site a month ago, there wasn’t as much debris as normal.  This is a good thing!  But they still came away with 38 pounds of lead weights and about 1,000 feet of fishing line.

Coral head entangled with line
Ocean Defenders free coral from strangline fishing line

Thanks to the boat crew of Island Divers Hawaii, and especially Matt Zimmerman, the owner.  We’ve been chartering his boat once a month since 2016.  Great relationship, and the corals thank all our donors for continuing to allow us to keep these reefs clean of life-threatening marine debris.  With your ongoing help, our intrepid crew will be back next month!