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News and Media

News and Media

By Oahu Volunteer Coordinator & ODA Advisory Board Member Marjorie Zensen

Another beautiful Hawai’i day greeted us as we loaded our gear onto Island Divers Hawai’i’s boat, The Sea Fox

ODA Volunteer Divers gearing up

As we motored out of the harbor, I couldn’t help but notice the blues in the ocean. So beautiful!

Gorgeous blue water of Oahu

And as we rounded the bend at China Walls, it was such a clear day that I could see a couple of our neighboring islands. At Fish Camp, the waves were crashing against the cliffs but looked like it could be a good dive. We return to this site often as abandoned fishing gear accumulates here regularly.

Fish Camp Dive site to recover lost fishing gear

Captain Troy Diamond got us as close to the ledge as possible and in seven groups of twos, we dropped quickly for a negative entry. We use a negative entry technique to enter the water so that, instead of bobbing back up when you hit the water, you actually descend down immediately to start the dive. This is done when diving in a place where there are surface currents or very choppy waves. In dive conditions like these, it is easy to separate from your dive group or buddy if you stay on the surface to wait for them. So, the best option is to descend immediately and quickly, and meet deeper under the water where it is calmer and easier to see each other. We discussed this in our briefings given by Gary (on left) and Glenn (on right):

Briefing by Gary
Briefing by Glenn

My husband and dive buddy, Mark England told me that as he dropped to the underwater ledge, he saw a bit of line and a weight here and there. But once his eyes adjusted, he saw a pile of chandelier hooks in a little nook and then another and another. The two buckets we had taken down filled quickly as the divers discovered more and more lines, weights, a fishing pole and other trash.

 UW Divers with debris float bags

Within 20 minutes I heard Dive Master Gary Liebmann dinging his tank to end the dive as the buckets were full!  I quickly finished pulling the spider web of line that I had unearthed and rolled it around the huge hook attached at the end.

Ocean Defender Divers collected abandoned gear

As we all slowly ascended (some of us were at 70+ feet) I counted to make sure we had all our divers. Off in the distance, I could see five divers with the two lift bags ascending to the surface. Our group of 9, was doing a three-minute safety stop (to let our bodies adjust to normal pressure) while we continued out to sea for pickup. All was well. Time to relax. But only briefly! 

ODA divers ascend with lift bags bringing up debris

At the surface, I did a quick scan for our brightly colored lift bags. I spotted one  closer to the wall with three divers. But where was the other bucket and the last two divers? I quickly hoisted the Dive Propulsion Vehicle onto the boat where crew member and land photographer Temple Liebmann was ready to take it from me. Another scan showed still one bucket/bag and still only three divers, Crystal, Michael, and Ed.

news 2023 06 06 33 Dive site 5LR 1200w wm

And just then I saw two more heads pop to the surface. Mark and Glenn. But, where was their bucket?

Divers at surface

We made the quick boat ride to retrieve the last five divers where the bucket was pulled on deck, and we heard the rest of the story! Apparently, everything was going fine until the bucket that Glenn and Mark were monitoring started dropping! Still not sure what happened except for a malfunction of the lift bag as it should have been able to lift 150 lbs. Mark was able to rescue a couple of our ODA canvas bags that were filled with line and weights but the rest of the debris, nestled in the bucket, dropped on down. Running low on air, going to retrieve the bucket would have to be for another day! We have the coordinates on its location though so we will get it. 

Here you see a successful sending of the lift bag to the surface.Here you see a successful sending of the lift bag to the surface.

I consider the day a success. No one was hurt and we had a really, really good group of divers! ODA puts safety first, so this is no surprise.

We even had three amazing new divers added to the team! Thanks Ryan Price, Peter Quinn, and Wendy Good for joining us! You all were awesome, and we hope to see you again!

ODA Crew with catch of the dayODA Crew with "catch of the day" - Left to right: Ryan Price, Samantha Heath, Jim Hayden, Marjorie Zensen, Michael Dal Pra, Glenn Roberts, Wendy Good, Peter Quinn, Ron Ward, Ed Sisino, Crystal Gray, Gary Liebmann, Mark England. Photo by Temple Liebmann

And thanks to crew/photography mother and daughter team Temple and Abby Liebmann for helping get us safely off and on the boat and for taking photos. And thanks, underwater photographer Crystal Gray for fighting with your strobe underwater! You still got some great shots! Mahalo, Michael Dal Pra, Mark England, Jim Hayden, Samantha Heath, DM Gary Liebmann, Glenn Roberts, Ed Sisino, Ron Ward, Cameron Yabsley and Captain Troy! 

Our crew is thankful to all the supporters who make our ocean cleanup work possible! We are your cleanup crew and we take our job of removing abandoned fishing gear and other debris very seriously. We do all this to make the oceans safe for all wildlife -- from the magnificent whales to the smallest critter!

Baby crab gets loveBaby crab gets love! When we find live animals amongst the debris, we carefully return them to their home.

To finish the day, we documented the "take," weighing about 75 pounds of debris and over 2,000 feet of line. Please see the photo of the weighing process at the end of photo gallery below.

There is another ~125 pounds at the bottom of the ocean (at around 80 or 90 feet) awaiting our return for a pickup. We’ll be back (especially with your help)! 

If you want to help make sure the crew can charter a boat to get back to that debris, your donation would be very helpful!

Yes, I want to support ocean cleanup