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News and Media

News and Media

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By Founder and President Kurt Lieber

I am thrilled to see Ocean Defenders Alliance Hawai’i (ODA-HI) diving in and staying active.

Island Divers Hawai’i & Great Crew Make It Happen

This past Sunday, nine ODA volunteers boarded the boat Sea Fox, in the Hawai’i Kai Harbor. This was our second expedition where we chartered a boat with Island Divers Hawai’i. I was not onboard for this outing, but we had already held training sessions so the Hawaii team was ready to go.

Sea Fox life ringODA-HI Boat & Dive Crew ready to remove ocean debris

Mary Christensen works for the company and is the lead diver for all our outings with them. She is a dive instructor, and so is her husband John, who also came along. Thanks to this dynamic duo for all you do as ODA volunteers and for the oceans!

In addition to the Christensens and our photographer AJ Jaeger, three of the divers were: Shellie Habel, Olivier Poirion, and Sara-Jeanne Royer. All five of them have gone out with ODA Hawai’i before.

Volunteer divers Sarah-Jeanne and OlivierReady to remove marine debris are Sarah-Jeanne and Olivier

Check back soon as we will be adding the names of the other awesome volunteers.

Ocean Defenders Alliance Hawaii Divers Shellie, Sarah Jeanne, and OlivierODA-HI Volunteer SCUBA diver Mary Christensen

Vicki Szymczak is our dive team coordinator, and she has been at all our other Hawai’i dives, but she got food poisoning the night before and had to cancel. Get better soon, Vicki!

China Wall Needs a Lot of Cleaning

The ODA Hawai’i Boat & Dive Crew went to a site called China Wall, which is on the southern tip of the island of Oahu. The area is frequented by recreational fishermen who cast their fishing lines from shore. When their lines get snagged on a coral or rock, they cut the line and leave the line and lure in the water.

Oahu's China Wall dive siteFishing site called China Wall is littered with debris.

All these lines are made out of plastic (known as mono-filament lines) and over time can kill the coral and get snared on unsuspecting turtles and fish. Also, the lures have lead weight attached to them and are highly toxic.

When the crew got to the site, the water was a bit rough, with 6-8 foot waves hammering the rocky coastline. But the water was relatively calm at the site, so all the divers dropped down into 35 feet of water and started removing all kinds of stuff.

ODA-HI Diver jumping in to remove ghost gearOcean Defenders Hawaii Diver with debris lift bag

They found the fishing lines entangled in coral, beer cans, lead weights AND a bunch of golf balls! How the heck did they get there? Somebody must be practicing their swing and doesn’t care about leaving them in the water. I wonder how long it will take for them to break down…Forever?

Ocean debris removed by Ocean Defenders HawaiiDebris and fish hooks the ODA-HI crew removed

They worked for a little over an hour and came up with hundreds of feet of fishing line, dozens of lures, weights and hooks, AND about two dozen golf balls! We sure don’t want marine wildlife to think those round white things are food.

Ocean Defenders Alliance Hawaii Crew with days catch

Good job, Team!

I want to thank AJ Jaeger for taking all these pictures. Thanks also to Mary for leading the dive team, keeping everyone safe, AND making sure they all had a good time.

That is the essence of ODA activities: Work hard to clean up our oceans AND have a fun time doing it.

Do you live on Oahu and want to defend your local waters?

Feel free to check out our At-Sea Crew page and submit an application if you would like to join the crew!