This past Saturday, on September 10th, we teamed up with Moffitt’s Mermaids for a cleanup dive at Point Panic. Moffitt’s Mermaids is a local company that certifies new divers and helps seasoned divers conquer specific skills, dive at deeper depths, and advance their certifications. Since the owner, Katie, is an ocean advocate and teaches ocean conservation along with all her courses, we knew she would make a great partner for our monthly cleanup. We had 26 divers show up at the beach park eager to help! A group of divers from the Ocean Alliance Project also came out to assist. The Ocean Alliance Project is a team of field research operatives helping to restore the coral reefs of Hawaii with resilience. After a quick dive briefing, volunteers headed for the water. Teams headed in 3 different directions. One team headed out towards the ocean and were rewarded with seeing lots of turtles and recovered a large number of plastics. Another team headed across the channel and found a lot of fishing waste. The third team headed into the harbor and found a wide variety of trash, including a traffic cone being used as a home by damselfish. Our vounteers are mindful when removing trash to leave anything behind that already has coral growth on it or is being used as a home. All divers reported seeing a lot of imperial and gloomy nudibranchs.

On this one dive, we removed 286 pounds of trash! Included were 4 tires, 2 large plastic pipes, a plastic chair, a hubcap, 2 knives, a wooden baton, a children’s book, lots of plastics, aluminum cans, glass bottles, metal wiring, fishing pole pieces, fishing line, hooks, and lead weights.

We really appreciated having Katie and Moffitt’s Mermaids there to help sort and account for all the trash. We log each item removed with PADI Aware who collects data for ocean conservation research. Katie is a PADI Aware instructor and knew the process, making it easy work!

Mahalo to everyone who came out and contributed to the cleanup! We had a great group of volunteers and made a lasting impact on the ocean. A special thanks to “Mom” for sending cookies too! We hope to see you at our next event on October 9th. We will be celebrating Halloween with a costume contest and underwater cleanup!