Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA) and Kona Honu Divers (KHD) partnered for another cleanup around Keahole Point on the Big Island of Hawai’i on Tuesday, May 2nd.
Even though the volunteer roster was “filled” (we try to limit the number of divers on each outing to less than the maximum the boat can safely accommodate), we managed to squeeze in a few more eager volunteers. New volunteers were excited to check out the dive site, Trail of Tears, on the south side of Keahole Point, and veteran volunteers were happy to get back in and see how clean the reef still looked.
Dive volunteers this day were: Karen Bohner, Laura Cartwright, Erin Clement, Jacque Delonne, Donna Goodale, Maura Hennessy, Meghan Murray, Michael O’Connor, Bo Pardau, Jamie Pardau, Adrianne Peck, Phil Peck, Elias Roberts, Buzz Samuelson, Brian Sward, Laurel Whillock, Zoe Wilson, KHD Owner Byron Kay, and our ODA Dive Coordinator Sarah Milisen.
We’d like to give a special shout out to talented photographer Bo Pardau for taking all these great underwater pictures!
It was a surgy day below the water at the westernmost point of the island, and this south-facing shoreline had a south swell beating us up a bit. Poor visibility was no match for our volunteers though – they nearly filled a 30-gallon bin in just one dive!
Divers were not distracted by the gorgeous manta rays cruising by (ok, maybe we were a little distracted) – but the sounds of Sarah, yelling “Get back to work!” put them back on task. Heads down and eyes on the prize, divers filled their bags with polypropylene net fragments, line, lures, weights, and construction materials.
Bags overfilled with stuff came back to the boat, but the swell was picking up, so we decided to head to another site for our second dive. We will have to come back to this site again.
For our second dive of the day, we went around the point to the north side of Keahole, known as Tako City. This was a site we had originally adopted as our cleanup site when ODA and KHD initially started working together last year. We hadn’t been back to the site in about six months. We thought it might be good to do a checkup and see if the reef is still deemed clean.
We got out of the swell, and the visibility was incredible. Jamie was caught admiring the view, and appreciating the beauty which we call home. Echoes of Sarah, blaring “GET BACK TO WORK” in her head, she dropped down to 80 feet and found a web of fishing line still present here.
Some divers went even deeper to get what they could with the minutes available on their dive computers. Once we were all out of our No Decompression Limits, we came up into shallower waters, only to be greeted by a lovely green sea turtle, and a chunky, curious monk seal checking us out!
Most divers came back on the boat with less line and lead than the last dive site, but we were all happy to see the reef is still quite clean. Just two divers left in the water, finishing up their safety stop, and what do you think they saw? ...A WHALE SHARK!!!! No one back on board believed the ladies! We did some search patterns hoping to bump back into our spotted friend for a quick snorkel, but no luck.
All together, we had an incredibly fun team of volunteers onboard, cleaned up a ton of line and nets from the ocean, AND got our chances to see some epic wildlife (some luckier than others). Thanks to Kona Honu Divers for another great sponsored dive day!
If you're interested in volunteering onboard these boat charters, the next Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA) dive trip will be May 18th with another partner of ours -- Kohala Divers! Contact GoDiving@KohalaDivers.com or send an email to Sarah@OceanDefenders.org! If you are unable to join us, please consider making a donation towards our efforts!