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Aug 06 2018

Hazardous Fishing Gear Hauled Out of Oahu Waters

Introduction by Founder and President Kurt Lieber

Article by ODA Advisory Board and Dive Member Ken Staples

Sunday, July 29th, was a day that I have looked forward to for years.  ODA had boats in the coastal waters of Oahu and California, taking our divers out to do underwater cleanups on the same day!

I was on the boat in Oahu Diver Too with a group of 19 volunteer deckhands and SCUBA divers.  This is a monthly cleanup we do in collaboration with Island Divers Hawai’i.  Back in Southern California, our flagship the Legasea headed out to Laguna Beach to look for abandoned lobster traps. 

Here is a report from Ken Staples, who is ODA’s dive team coordinator in Hawai’i:

Aloha from Oahu!

ODA-Hawaii partnered again with Island Divers for another successful cleanup dive.  

After a quick dive briefing by our expedition leader and Master Instructor, Mary Christensen, we departed the dock on the Sea Fox captained by Kelsey and headed towards the China Walls area, which is on the southwest side of Oahu.

Mary and ODA divers before departure Mary gives a briefing on land...

The enthusiasm by our team of 19 volunteers was in full force as we headed out into the bay.  

Our ODA crew this day—16 divers and 3 boat crew:

  • Kurt Lieber of ODA
  • Mary Christensen, Master Instructor
  • Kelsey, boat captain
  • Andrea Fiegle
  • Andrew Moning
  • Becca Lensing
  • Brianna
  • Dan Okamjra
  • Glenn Roberts
  • Joel Moribe
  • John Shaffer
  • Kaliko 
  • Ken Staples
  • Michael Canonico
  • Monica Kirk
  • Samantha Kelly
  • Stephen Brock
  • Taylor Sparks
  • Tim Hollandsworth

Mary giving briefing...and Mary gives a briefing at sea!

There were a lot of boats and paddle boarders in the bay, as today was the annual Molokai to Oahu race.  It was fun to watch the paddlers finish their 31-mile course.  

We had to focus on our mission at hand, so we rounded the corner of China Walls and positioned our drop point close to the Spitting Cave area.  

China Walls Waves on rocks

On command, we all departed the boat and quickly got to work at a depth of about 50'.  It was amazing to see all 16 divers jump in the water within about two minutes.  Like watching 16 paratroopers jump out of a plane, one after the other.

ODA SCUBA Divers splashing

Hazardous Marine Debris Found

There was a lot of monofilament line tangled on the coral heads and strung between the different reefs. What an encouraging sight: many divers working vigorously to remove as much debris as possible in our short one-tank dive.

Fishing line entangled on coral 

We quickly filled our many large- and medium-sized buckets and bags with line, lead weights, lures, hooks, and other debris.  

ODA SCUBA Diver removes fishing line

There were plenty of fish, eels, and even a devil scorpion fish that were very happy to see us cleaning their environment.  Be sure to look at our photo gallery at the bottom of the page to see all the photos of ocean life!

Before we knew it 40 minutes had passed, and it was time to surface.

Mary's crack team of dive masters quickly inflated the lift bags and brought the debris and divers back to the surface.  We hoisted our collection topside and headed back to the marina.

Scythnosed butterfly fishScythnosed butterfly fish

A Different Kind of “Lifting Weights”!

One of the containers was so heavy that the bottom of it broke, almost sending our hard-gained debris back to the bottom.  But, not to be, as three people managed to lift it onto the rear dive step.  It weighed about 150 pounds!

Ghost gear removed weighted lure

The enthusiasm continued on board as we all talked about the positive ocean conservation work we had just performed and what taking care of the ocean means to all of us.  

ODA Crew with catch of the dayODA Crew with catch of the day

Many mahalos to ODA-Hawaii, Island Divers, and our passionate group of volunteer divers for your commitment to being good stewards to the ocean.

After we took the crew pictures with all the debris, the work didn’t stop there for Tim Hollingsworth.  He separated all the weights from the monofilament lines, so the weights can be repurposed.  Tim, you are a monster cleaner upper! :-)

Remember to check out the photo gallery below!

Tim cutting line from weights

 
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