“Dive against debris!” That was my project for my Project Aware specialty in my DM course. I organized the afternoon dive to be a fun and free dive for all guests here at Two Fish to help us go clean up the bottom of the sea! It was great!
Our dive site was Police Pier and between the guests, dive guides and staff we had 51 people participate! We brought old rice sacks with us as we dove to pick up trash, clothing, plastic bottles, lunch containers, fireworks, rope, dishes, plates, shoes and all sorts of things. In my dive brief, I had to make sure everyone knew that not ALL trash is trash. Sometimes the trash has become a home for the creatures in the sea so we wouldn’t want to disturb that or hurt them by picking it up. Glass bottles are great homes for octopus and gobies. A big tire has become a small reef with algae and a variety of fish both in and out and living on top of the tire. So even though, it is not great for environment we have to respect of sea life and keep them safe and sound. They have adapted to all the terrible waste we have dumped into their home, so the least we can do is let them be.
So after about an hours dive, we brought up our heavy full bags and put them on the second boat with the dive guides. Everyone was sharing what they found, how heavy the bags were and could they not believe we collected so much in just one dive site. It was just like when you come up from a dive and share all the things you saw. It was funny, same conversation, different content. We unloaded the bags, weighed them each, and then added the total; 72.7 kilos! Not bad!
Now starts the fun part, emptying each bag and sorting through for the classification part of the project. Project aware needs to know exactly what we collected and how many for their research in ocean clean up. We made piles of plastic cups, piles of clothes and shoes, piles of food wrappers, etc. I won’t lie, it was kinda gross and definitely stunk! Being down in the sand at the bottom of the ocean for who knows how long, made it pretty stinky. But we pushed through and got it done. The top items we collected were; plastic bottles, clothing, and 160 food wrappers! We did a great job! So once we tallied and documented it all, we put it back into the rice bags to be disposed of properly.
I loved doing this project. It felt great to actually make a small dent in the trash here in Lembeh. And experience the whole staff, guests and myself all coming together, having fun but also doing what we can here today to try to save our oceans. My husband and I are planning on opening our own small dive resort and now having done this, I plan to have clean up dives every month at our place. We can make it a fun dive activity and give out beer wins, instead of beer fines for the most collected trash!
I say thank you for Project Aware for existing and thank you Two Fish Divers and Luke my instructor for the great experience!