Slide background

News and Media

News and Media

By Founder and President Kurt Lieber

I started the first leg of my three-week trip to Hawai’i by meeting up with some hardcore volunteers. 

I landed in Kailua Kona on Friday, February 24th.  The next day, Saturday, Sarah Milisen and Kaitlyn Kennworth met me around 8am at Honokohau Harbor.  ODA has been doing underwater cleanups in the harbor for a little over two years.

Boats in Harbor

This was going to be our  10th effort to remove marine debris at this site.  In our previous dives, we started out on the southwest corner of the harbor, cleaned up roughly 150 yards each time, and by our last cleanup had completely covered the entire harbor.

Now we wanted to go back to the same spot we started and see if it was still clean.  Well, we peaked into the water and saw a tire!  That was a clue that there would be at least some debris to remove.

Tire underwater needs to be removed

As I was driving to the harbor from Kona, I noticed that it was very overcast, perfect conditions for standing on the docks while waiting for the divers to remove any items they’d be finding while they were cool in the water.  No sun beating down on us!

Well, it started sprinkling as I got closer to the harbor, and when I arrived it was raining.  Oh well, I thought, these kinds of rains are always over in the few minutes on these islands.

By the time Sarah, Katelyn, and I started setting up all the equipment it started to pour.  Now the volunteers started showing up.  They didn’t care about the rain; they were going to get wet anyway!

So, they unloaded their dive gear and tanks as the rain kept pouring down.  At this point, Sarah, Katelyn, and I were just soaked to the bone, and getting cold.  Yes, you can get cold in Hawai’i!

Dive crew

By 9:30 we had roughly 20 people all huddled under our 10-foot by 10-foot tent.  How many people can squeeze into a ten-by-ten tent?  We were about to find out.  By now it was apparent that the rains were just not going to stop anytime soon, and we decided to call the dive off and come back when things were safer for everyone involved as the docks and haul-out lines would have been too slippery. Not too mention the topside crew would have been uncomfortably cold! The only happy people would have been the divers!

Debris-removal Volunteers under tent
Dedicated removers of ocean ghost gear

I can’t tell you the names of everyone who came out, as we didn’t have time or a dry piece of paper to write anything on… But it was really awesome to see 20-25 people show up despite those intense conditions.  Just seeing that warmed my heart, if not my body.

In addition to everyone who showed up, I want to thank several people here:

Sarah and Katelyn for putting in so much effort to get all the ropes, ladders, dive safety equipment, the tent, and all the other goodies we need for the underwater cleanup.  Matt Bogdanovich for letting us use some of his recovery equipment and hauling it all down to the harbor.  Kona Honu Divers and Jack’s Diving Locker for donating the use of some scuba tanks for the divers.  Apryl Sasaki from Pacific Waste for delivering and donating the use of a waste bin for the day.  And lastly to Tony and Scott from the Harbor Masters office for getting us permission to do work in the harbor.

After I called off the dive, several people headed to the beach to go for a shore dive.  Now that is what I’d call real WET HEADS!

Stay tuned for the rescheduled cleanup report...