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News and Media

News and Media

By Oahu Dive Team Leader & ODA Advisory Board Member Glenn Roberts

Sunday, January 21st started out really calm on Maunalua Bay, Oahu, with almost no wind and calm seas.

However, by the time the ODA volunteer crew departed the Hawai’i Kai Boat Launch at 2:30pm aboard  Aaron’s Dive Shop Na Makana, the south wind had picked up, the skies had darkened, and the waves had grown considerably.

Here's a good shot of their boat --- we weren't onboard yet...

Aaron's Dive boat Na Makana

Our original plan was to dive on our favorite adopted site, Fish Camp. Another name for the area is "Sea Cave" (see photo at end of article with Ed).

It’s our favorite partly because it’s an amazing wall with a ledge at 45 feet, dropping to the bottom at 85 feet. But the main reason we’re so passionate about this cleanup site is that it is very popular for fisherman going after ulua aukea (giant trevally) or ahi (yellowfin tuna). The site gets its name from the fishing sheds and lean-tos along the cliff. Often times the recreational fishermen’s gear gets snagged on the ledge or along the bottom and so we find a huge amount of lead, heavy line, big hooks, and lures which cause a lot of harm to local sea life. The honus (green sea turtles) are the most vulnerable. Below you can see some of the fishing sheds on the cliff:Dive site with recreational fishing camps above

On our way out, it was looking like we’d have to do our cleanup at China Walls which is closer to the harbor and much calmer. But as we continued east along the wall, the waves didn’t get huge as they normally do. So, Captain John continued all the way out to Fish Camp.

ODA Oahu marine debris cleanup team

The ODA divers on the boat were Michael Dal Pra, Bill Metzler, Dan Okamura, Glenn Roberts, Ed Sisino, and Rose Zhang. Our dive master (DM) from Aaron’s Dive Shop was Chris Maddaloni. Gary Liebmann, our usual DM, was unable to dive due to a sinus infection, and regular diver and underwater photographer Crystal Gray also had to sit out the dive due to a painful pinched nerve. Providing topside support was Temple Liebmann who also took our topside photos and Kay Smullen also lended a hand on deck. 

This kind of debris was awaiting us below...

Tangled pile of abandoned fishing line

Captain John backed the boat right up to the wall, with waves crashing against the cliff (tricky since he has to put the engine in neutral while divers are entering the water), and the seven of us entered the water as quickly as possible. Once we dropped down the visibility opened up to 125 feet plus.

Ocean Defender Scuba Divers removing dangerous fishingline

Most divers dropped all the way to the bottom at 80-85 feet. That wasn’t our plan given air usage is very high at that depth, but it was a small and experienced group and so we improvised.

I stayed on the usual cleanup ledge at 45 feet and was later joined by Bill. We filled a bucket with mostly lead and wire leader. Look above our heads in this photos - two honus were keeping an eye on us! You can enlarge the picture by clicking on it. :)

Retrieving derelict fishing gear with honus above

The deep crew cleaned up mostly heavy line snagged on the rocks. All told we removed 200 pounds of lead and approximately 3,000 yards of line. The line filled a bucket and weighed 9 pounds on its own (that’s a LOT of fishing line).

Catch o the Day - piles of debris
Fishing line, hooks, and toxic lead weights
Imagine this fishing line stretched out!

Check this out...

Crewmember Ed with Lost Bucket; see Sea Cave behindThe coolest thing about this cleanup was that we located a full bucket we lost in July of 2023 (our last time at this location) when one of the two lift bags failed halfway to the surface.

Ed Sisino used an ODA scooter to locate the bucket at about 90' not far from Fish Camp. He rigged up a new 150-pound lift bag and shot the bucket to the surface. It was still full of lead, about 130 pounds!

We got a great snapshot of Ed (see at right) holding the lost-but-now-found bucket! Behind him you can see "Sea Cave."

This was a special outing for us since we hadn’t been to Fish Camp for a while due to conditions and the fact that the full bucket had been lost seven months back had been eating at us ever since. Finding and retrieving it was really rewarding for the whole crew. High fives all around!

And high fives to YOU – the Ocean Defender who helps make these cleanups possible! We are happy and honored to partner with the ODA supporters. Mahalo!

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