This past Saturday, on May 7th, we held our monthly Dive Against Debris at Point Panic, in Honolulu, Hawaii. We had 10 volunteers show up ready to venture out on a treasure hunt for trash in the ocean. Conditions for the South shore of Oahu for the previous week had brought some of the highest swells seen over the past year. We were unsure that we would be able to safely make the dive but when we went down to the entry point to scope it out, we were pleasantly surprised! Even though the surf had receded enough to safely enter and exit the water, we were still expecting poor visibility below the surface.
Once underwater, we quickly realized that the conditions were actually pretty great! Visibility was about as good as Point Panic can get. Plus, the storm surges from the previous week had brought in new trash and uncovered trash that had been buried beneath the sand for years! Normally we head across the boat channel to look for rubbish, but this time we didn’t need to venture far from the entry point to fill our bags. One of our volunteers even freed a Hawaiian Triggerfish (A.K.A. Humuhumunukunukuapua’a) that was snagged on the reef with fishing line and a hook. Getting back out of the ocean was a little more tricky with such heavy bags of rubbish. We had to time the waves and help each other up the stairs.
Thanks to this group of volunteers, 254 pounds of trash was removed from the reef and ocean! This cleanup brought out the most common items we find at Point Panic. This included 107 glass bottles, lots of single use plastics, plexiglass, fishing line, fishing pole fragments, hooks, lures, and an impressive 54 pounds of lead fishing weights.
Mahalo to all of the volunteers that showed up to support the cleanup and Mother Ocean on Mother’s Day Weekend. Not only did they save a reef fish, but by removing so much deadly waste, they saved countless more marine animals! We hope to see you at our next cleanup at Point Panic on Saturday, June 4th!