On Saturday, January 28th we hosted our first cleanup of the year at Point Panic Beach Park. This makes for our third full year of monthly cleanups at this dive site and park. The weather was calling for thunderstorms and rain, but we lucked out with perfect weather. We had a large turn out of over 30 volunteers!

After a quick briefing, SCUBA divers and freedivers geared up and headed for the water. Entry was a breeze as it was high tide with small waves.

While the divers spent about an hour in the water, a team of volunteers cleaned the surrounding beach park. They collected over 50 pounds of trash and prevented it from ending up in the ocean. There were lots of food containers, plastic bottles, and broken surfboards. One volunteer even found a needle!

When the divers surfaced with bags of trash, the land crew was right there to help them out of the water. The visibility was fantastic for this dive site and divers reported seeing lots of marine life. They saw an eagle ray, white tip reef shark, a frogfish, mantis shrimp, upside down jellyfish, and loads of nudibranchs!

Once out of the water, the trash was sorted, counted, and weighed. We removed an impressive 135 pounds of trash from the ocean! The most frequently found items were derelict fishing gear, glass bottles, aluminum cans, clothing, and food containers. Some of the more interesting items found were 3 pairs of sunglasses, a cowboy hat, a store product scanner, a tire, and a fiberglass mermaid tail. The findings were reported to PADI Aware so marine researchers and policymakers can use the data for conservation efforts.

Mahalo to all of the volunteers who showed up even when it was calling for bad weather! We really appreciate you taking time out of your weekend to care for our land and ocean. Join us for our next cleanup on February 11th!