The summer of 2006 was a very busy season for ODA. On June 6 & 7, I attended a conference at the Aquarium of the Pacific entitled "Ocean Literacy". It was a multi-media event, with a broadcast beamed from Washington DC featuring Senators and representatives from NOAA, Fish and Wildlife Service, including Jean Michael Cousteau.
The participants outlined the agenda of the conference and discussed the immediate importance to educate the public about the plight of the oceans and how individual actions affect the health and quality of the marine environment.
The conference was programmed to have several topics of concern discussed in one-hour sessions, including dealing with the media hosted by professionals from television, radio and print. This panel provided me great insight on how to get our message out to the public. I also got to spend a lot of time with Debbie Karimoto, the host of the ocdiving.com website.
I made several new contacts, one was Professor Joe Conner. He teaches at Passadena Community College and hosts a TV program called "On the Bubble". It is a show that focuses on community activists. He offered to do an interview with me and came over to my house and filmed several short segments that aired on their cable channel in August. It was shown mostly in the LA area, but I got reports that people in Orange County were able to see it as well.
On June 6, first mates Jared Rubin, Chris Aultman and I went to Heisler Marine Park to search for a lost trap that had been reported. We came across a trap line that was totally tangled in a dense colony of gorgonians. As we untangled the mess we followed the line over a 20 foot tall reef only to find it tied to an abandoned trap. It was encrusted with a lot of growth, but inside the were 2 hopelessly trapped lobsters! We were elated to free them and remove the trap, with Chris and I high fiving each other 35 feet deep. All in all we removed 1 trap, another 40 pounds of remnants and 70 feet of trap lines.
On July 9, Chris Bell, Jared Rubin and I attended a fish identification class given by the Greater Los Angeles Council of Divers. It was very informative and will help us in identifying the variety of different life forms we come across in our local dives. Jared gave a short presentation to the attendees about ODA.
On July 11, I gave a presentation to the Los Angeles Black Underwater Explorers. Their meetings are held at the History Museum on the campus of USC. I had never spoken there before and the members were extremely interested in the topic of the health of the local marine ecosystems and were very enthusiastic about ODA's efforts to help clean up the reefs. I'm sure some of them will be out with ODA in the near future. Thank you Sherry Johnson for setting that up!
On July 22, we dived the wreck of the Olympic. Click Here for the page containing a running update on our efforts to clean up this historic wreck. On July 27, I gave a presentation at Huntington Beach State Park to 25 beach cleanup volunteers who were organized by Stephanie Barger of Earth Resource Foundation
Founder & President
Ocean Defenders Alliance