This past Saturday, on April 23rd, 2022 we hosted an Earth Day celebration and cleanup at Point Panic, in Honolulu, Hawaii. We were fortunate enough to partner with Aaron’s Dive Shop and Hawaii Marine Animal Response (HMAR) for this event. We had 34 volunteers show up ready to dive, freedive, and groom the park for debris.

Before we started the cleanup, each organization provided a brief introduction about themselves. Aaron’s Dive Shop is located in Kailua and is a PADI-5 Star IDC facility. As the oldest dive shop in Hawaii, it is an excellent choice for guided dives, PADI certifications, rentals, and servicing gear! HMAR is the largest Hawaii-based nonprofit marine species conservation, education, field support, rescue and stranding response organization. They informed the volunteers about their citizen science Beat Debris program. This program was designed to encourage divers to submit easy to use reports online about the debris found while diving. This data helps HMAR collect information on the types of debris and the locations where it is found in the Hawaiian Islands. Divers that submit reports, are entered to win monthly prizes. To learn more about the amazing work that HMAR does or more about the Beat Debris program, you can visit their website.

Since Nudi Wear has adopted Point Panic through Padi Aware’s Adopt A Dive Site program and has conducted over 30 cleanups at this location, we provided the safety briefing to the divers and freedivers. We encouraged them to exhibit extra caution when entering and exiting the water due to the increased wave action. We also highlighted the added dangers of diving near an active boat channel and reminded the divers to be extra cautious and aware of boats. We also placed surface marker buoys in the water to indicate to the passing boats that there were divers and freedivers in the area.

After the briefing, the group of 5 volunteers cleaning the surrounding park got right to work! They combed the beach park and shoreline collecting 30 hard earned pounds of trash! Point Panic’s shoreline is built from man-made rock structures and tends to collect a lot of garbage that is either left behind by careless people or blown by the wind. By collecting trash at this point, it prevents it from ever entering the ocean and causing even more harm. The volunteers found a lot of single use plastics, take away food containers, and plastic bottles. It takes a lot of effort to remove that much trash from the rocks and we greatly appreciate the work they did.

While the volunteers were busy cleaning the park, the divers and freedivers geared up and made the trek along the water to the stairs to enter the dive site. There were larger than normal waves, making entry and exit a little more challenging than usual. The volunteers were great about helping each other to ensure safety and to make the job a little easier.

SCUBA divers descended and moved in several different directions. Some returned to areas known as debris hot spots and others went in search of new areas of concern. Freedivers were extremely helpful in cleaning the shallow reef area and removing large amounts of fishing line and weights. A lot of the usual marine life was spotted, but we also had sightings of a juvenile frog fish and an upside-down jellyfish to add to the list this Earth Day dive!

Even though there were larger than normal waves and stronger than usual surges and currents underwater, the 29 divers and freedivers were able to remove an impressive 148 pounds of trash from the reef and ocean bottom, making for a total of 178 pounds for the day! The most unusual items found this time were a sock monkey, a metal patio chair and table, and a bra! Other items removed included a tire, a dinner plate, 48 glass bottles, 38 aluminum cans, single use plastics, gloves, face masks, chunks of fiberglass, along with a large pile of fishing line, fishing poles, hooks, lures, and 31 pounds of lead fishing weights!

A BIG MAHALO to Aarons Dive Shop, HMAR, and all of the volunteers that showed up in support of EARTH Day 2022! We appreciate everyone volunteering their time to help our ocean and island. We hope to see you at our next cleanup on Saturday, May 7th to celebrate Mother’s Day by taking care of Mother Earth!