Reported by Volunteer Marjorie England
We love doing debris cleanups at Oahu’s Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, a precious Marine Protected Area!
Not only is it beautiful, the people who work there are amazing. Lynette Liu, who runs the operations at the Bay, is so supportive about getting us the permit we need to do the cleanup. ODA is the only organization that's allowed this special permit, so we take this responsibility very seriously. Unfortunately, like another location we regularly clean – China Walls – sometimes the ocean decides whether we can go out as the currents can be very strong and the visibility can be very poor. On this day, the ocean granted us permission!
I have to tell you, in addition to Lynette, all the other employees and volunteers are encouraging to us as well. They often express their appreciation for what we do. From the minute we get to the guarded gate, we are greeted with positive affirmations. When the gate guards find out what we’re doing, they heartily thank us. Then the parking attendant thanks us, the volunteers who direct foot traffic, the tram drivers… It takes quite a bit of time to get down to the water because everyone wants to know what we are doing and then they thank us. This is a good problem to have! Once we get to the beach, there are often many guests there who stop us to ask what we’re doing. They usually make positive comments and thank us but mostly I hope that talking with people will raise awareness about the problem of ocean debris!
Those encouragements help us to get through the more difficult task of trekking back and forth to the water. It looks like this: loading up gear into wagons or on our backs, walking to the trolly, loading everything on to trolly truck, unloading down at the bottom of the hill, gearing up, walking across the sand, down into the water, surface swimming a couple hundred yards until we get to experience the relief and bliss of sinking down under the surface! The Diver Propulsion Vehicles (DPVs) make going way out (see the arrow on the photo to see how far the debris was on this outing) and currents were strong! When we’re done, we have to do everything in reverse and we all just about collapse by the time we get back to the vehicles…and it’s worth it all!
How do we find the debris, you ask? Often, free divers or snorkelers will tell us they have seen netting or other debris. However, on this day’s outing, Saturday, October 23rd, we found the net that I think was the one fellow volunteer Ken Staples and I were searching for a couple months ago but got distracted with another net that we found!
On this day our divers were: Chrystal Gray, Ed Sisino, Glenn Roberta, Mark England, Michael DalPra, and me.
We were able to get a little bit of underwater footage to share with you. We had six people and four DPVs. This shows the determination of our divers: Two divers were “towed” otherwise we could not have gone as far out as we did and had enough air to get back!
Also, you’ll be able to see the main part of the net that was entangled. See it floating with the surge? There are about four clumps, the biggest on the left. Also, if you compare the coral around the net to the coral on the right, you see that the netted coral is dead.
All in all, we got about 25 pounds of net, assorted plastic/trash, wire fishing leader, and a couple hundred yards of fishing line. We’re always glad to get plastic like you see out because so many types of wildlife mistake it for food.
We’re pleased to be able to haul this hazardous abandoned gear out and successfully make this Bay safer for marine wildlife!
If you'd like to see more debris pulled out of places like this, please help keep our operations going by making a donation today. Thank you!