By ODA Advisory Board Member & Oahu Dive Team Leader Glenn Roberts
We’d had a nice stretch of light winds and calm seas here on Oahu, so Sunday, March 19th was shaping up to be a great ODA cleanup dive with our boat partner Island Divers Hawaii (IDH).
Volunteer divers were: Henry Bennett, Michael Dal Pra, Andrea Fiegle, Ray Goody, Crystal Gray (responsible for the amazing underwater photography), Samantha Heath, Gary Liebmann, Dan Okamura, Glenn Roberts, and Rose Zhang. The IDH instructor was Hunter Vivirito. Invaluable topside support was provided by Temple Liebmann (who was our topside photographer) and Chad Schmidt who helped rig the buckets before the dive and haul them out of the water at the end.
Captain Matt Negaard did his usual briefing and I gave my cleanup briefing, and then we pushed off around 2:30pm.
Fun fact: Matt Zimmerman, IDH owner, schedules all our Sunday cleanup dives using an ocean tide calendar. High tide generally means low current, good visibility (vis). Sunday was a perfect example with zero current and vis exceeding 150 feet along the wall at Fish Camp, our favorite cleanup site (mine anyway 😊).
The first bucket was overflowing within 15 minutes.
The second one about 5 minutes later.
One bucket exceeded 125 pounds and we only had a 100-pound lift bag on it. Someone had brought a spare 50-pound bag and adding that additional “float power” allowed us to hoist the bucket off the bottom at a depth of about 50 feet.
You can see the diver above delicately removing line from the coral heads so as not to disturb them. Below is a closeup showing how the lines get entangled around it, and you can see a small fish - an arc eye hawkfish - between the line and coral. This kind of fish is common below 25 feet. They mostly live in this kind of cauliflower coral. So the line you see choking that coral would kill off his home over time.
We've also seen this kind of fishing line entangled around larger animals like turtles and eels.
We completed our safety stop (pause to decompress) and surfaced as a group to await pickup by the IDH vessel Sea Fox.
Crystal got some cool photos -- half underwater and half above! Be sure to look in the Photo Gallery below to see ALL the other great images she captured.
It was a rewarding event with our A-team of volunteer scuba divers, and everyone delivered big time: eight divers hauled 183 pounds of debris and about 650 yards of fishing line in 20 minutes. Amazing!
Next time we’ll bring a third and maybe fourth bucket. We also had a new diver joining us, Samantha Heath, who provided awesome surface support at our recent event at He’eia Pier where we removed over 8,000 lbs. of decaying tires and other toxic debris.
Our next cleanup with Island Divers Hawaii is scheduled for Sunday, April 9th. If you’re interested in diving with the ODA cleanup crew, please visit the Island Divers Hawaii scheduling page where you can RSVP and submit your $10.00 donation.