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Apr 17 2019

Ghost Gear Removed from Southern California Coastal Waters

By Founder and President Kurt Lieber

It was a busy couple of days for ODA, both in Hawai’i and in Palos Verdes, California.

You might recall that on Saturday, April 6th, 40 volunteers participated in our Honokohau Harbor cleanup in Hawai’i.  We successfully removed about 3,000 pounds of debris.

Then the very next day, Sunday, April 7th, off the coast of Los Angeles County, volunteer Captain Dave Merrill took some of our steadfast crewmembers out on our flagship the LegaSea to a place called Hawthorne Reef.  This is a site we’ve been to many times over the years and is about a quarter of a mile off the coast of beautiful Palos Verdes.

Palos Verdes

Captain Dave reported shared these details about the dive with me as I was still in Hawai’i.

The divers this day were:  Kim Cardenas, Al Laubenstein, and Geoff Walsh.  On deck helping Captain Dave were: Jeff Connor, Lisa Davis, Jim Lieber, Daryth Morrissey, and Susan Walsh. Thanks to Jeff and Daryth for taking all the great photographs that we're sharing here! Readers - be sure to check out the Photo Gallery below! :-)

Ocean Defenders Volunteer Crew

They left the boat slip around 9am, put the RIB in the water and towed it to the site.

They dropped anchor in 65 feet of water, where Kim, Al, and Geoff dropped down into underwater visibility that was between 15 and 20 feet.  This is a pretty decent field of vision; it allows the divers to see far enough to keep an eye out for their dive buddies and to locate debris as they’re being towed by motor-powered scooters.

After 25 short minutes, lift bags started to break the surface.  Always a wonderful sight, knowing that the divers found debris to remove.  The divers connect a lift bag – filled with air – to the debris and it “floats” or pulls the ocean pollution to the surface for recovery.

Debris removing Lift bags

At one point there were 5 bags floating at once.  That kept Jim and Jeff really busy in the RIB (rigid inflatable boat), as they motored around to get in position to grab one bag at a time and tow it over to the team on the LegaSea so the deck crew can haul the debris onboard.

Once they got the divers back onboard, everyone pitched in to haul the stuff onto the bow (front of the boat) using the davit (crane).

Ocean conservation Crew

All told, they removed one lobster trap, several hundred feet of trap lines and fishing lines, an anchor with a chain, and several smaller pieces of discarded fishing equipment.

By this time, the swells were picking up and a few people were getting seasick.  This combined with the fact that all three divers had leaks in their dry suits, they decided to cancel the 2nd dive and head home. 

Coasal cleanup Crew

Thanks to all the hard-working volunteer crew for making sure our coastal waters are as free from marine debris as possible!

With our supporters’ donations paying for fuel for the boat, we’ll be heading out again on April 20th to see what other goodies we can find!

 
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ODA eliminates dangerous man-made debris which pose serious threats to ocean wildlife and habitats.

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