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News and Media

News and Media

By Oahu Volunteer Coordinator & ODA Advisory Board Member Marjorie Zensen

We met up at the docks where ODA's partner Island Divers Hawai'i keeps their boats. We boarded and started suiting up.

Divers suiting up

Once again, Captain Matt Negaard led a challenging yet successful mission to Spitting Caves on the Oahu coast.

This area is known for its high-fishing traffic from the cliffs and we can always count on coming up with buckets full of lost fishing tackle!  We’re happy to return to this site as often as it takes to keep the ecosystem free and clear of this hazardous marine debris.

The Sea Fox (a 45-foot custom fiberglass dive boat) carried us out of the harbor and into the ocean on relatively calm waters but we knew that below the surface and up against the cliff wall it was not going to be so calm. And it wasn’t. 

Leaving the harbor

Dive Master Hunter Vivirito led the way on this, his maiden voyage with our team.

It was great to do this important work with you, Hunter!

Hunter Vivirito

Divers dropped, two by two, cameras, DPVs (underwater diver propulsion vehicles), buckets, cutting tools, and cool new ODA-logo’d bags in tow.

UW Divers with ODA debris bags

Samantha Cataldo, Chris Denton, Michael Dal Pra, Mark England, Andrea Fiegle, photographer Crystal Gray, Ed Sisino, Glenn Roberts, Rose Zhang, and I quickly got down to depths between 40 to 55 feet. 

Sea turtle visits ODA SCUBA Divers removing debris Sea turtle visits ODA SCUBA Divers removing debris. This is our motivation!

Glenn and Mark chose one of the shallower ledges, and honestly, I don’t know how they did it. I tried, but the surge was whipping me around so much I decided to stick along the lower ledge while monitoring all the activities of our divers. However, they had the “mother lode” of fishing line, weights and entangled corals! There was so much, and frankly, it was so sad to see healthy coral tangled with fishing line. 

UW Divers removing debris

Thirty minutes was our time limit as conditions like these really cause us to breathe heavily.

We had to head to the surface.

Ocean Defender Divers use lift bags to send debris to the surface for removal

Once we all boarded the boat safely, we headed back to the shop to sort and document the hauled debris.

Crew sorts and counts the collected ghost gear.

Even though we pull this debris on a regular basis, it still is impactful to see the tangled messes of line that used to be choking corals and wildlife. We're alway so glad we pulled it out to make the ecosystem safer for flora and fauna!

Ocean conservation crew separating debris pile

Another successful day of pulling 550 feet of fishing line, toxic lead fishing weights (just under 100 pounds), and random objects like a small radio, cans, spark plugs, and other trash items!  

ODA Crew with Catch of the Day

Mahalo nui loa to our team of awesome divers and to Captain Matt and DM Hunter.

Also, a special thanks to Crystal Gray for taking such awesome pictures in spite of being pushed around by the surge! It’s great to be able to share with others what we see down there!

Editors addition: You know safety is first at ODA. Well, we tell our divers not to sleep while "on the job," but sometimes they just don't listen! Her nickname isn't "Zen" for nothing!

Marjorie Zensen - peaceful diverMarjorie Zensen - peaceful diver

Be sure to check out our other recent cleanup reports on ODA-Hawai'i outings!