By ODA Advisory Board Member Marjorie Zensen
Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA) volunteers met up with Scuba School International (SSI) Blue Ocean volunteers to do a little cleaning up in the waters off of Magic Island in Honolulu on Sunday, February 27, 2022. The group was also joined by a few of Hawaii’s Young Marines, a youth education and service program!
The day started off with conditions that were not optimal for cleaning up underwater. The surge made it challenging, and the visibility was very, very low. But with our 20 volunteer divers, very little deters them. They were in the water quickly!
Below you can see the lift bags, like big balloons, that our divers use to "float" (or levitate as our article title said, tongue in cheek) debris to the surface. The diver attaches the deflated bag to the debris and then inflates the bag. The "balloon" floats the debris to the surface to the retrieval teams can pull the debris out of harm's way (either to a boat or to the shore).
As debris bags became heavy or items too big, the divers swam to the shore to find Young Marines waiting to help take bags of trash and other large items! How cool is that and what a big, big help it was!
Of course, with some of the larger items, like a mattress, the divers had to muscle through and bring it on to shore after a grueling time of even getting it TO shore using lift bags, Diver Propulsion Vehicles (DPVS), and lots of divers.
Some of the most interesting items found were an outboard motor and other boat parts, a mattress, and a large cooking pot. More items included a plastic storage bin, tires, blankets, clothing (which kills coral almost immediately), around 30 water bottles, and rope. In addition, 100 yards of line and about 50 pounds of lead fishing weights. All told it was about 300 pounds of debris!
A pretty good haul, although we all wish that it hadn’t been there in the first place!
As we looked out at Diamond Head and over the beautiful blue waters it was hard to imagine all the trash that is beneath the surface, endangering animals and smothering coral.
We appreciate our at-home ocean defenders who help make cleanups like these possible! Your donation keeps our cleanup operations going both from shore and at-sea. Thank you!