Saturday, January 19, 2013, Dive Friends Bonaire @ Yellow Submarine filled up with enthusiastic volunteers ready for the first quarterly clean-up dive of the new year. The crowd primarily consisted of vacationing divers but there were also a large number of local residents, including a group of Junior Rangers from the Bonaire Marine Park. All of the participants collected their free tanks from the dive center and then assembled for the safety briefing.
Asko Zuidam of Dive Friends Bonaire addressed the group of 118 divers and explained what trash should be recovered and what should be left behind, as well as how to keep from damaging any marine animals. He also gave an explanation of how to safely remove fishing line which poses a great threat to our endangered sea turtle population.
After the briefing, the divers headed over to Karel’s Pier, entered the water, descended, and began to fill their bags with trash. When filled, the bags were brought to the surface to those working as shore support.
The Dive Friends crew and volunteers checked once again to be sure no marine creatures had been inadvertently included, counted, and tallied the trash for statistics, and then disposed of it responsibly.
Karel’s Pier is home to a lively bar and restaurant, and unfortunately the underwater terrain can accumulate more bottles and cups than is normal on the reef. The statistics of the rubbish collected once again confirmed this to be true. Items collected include: 1,438 bottles, 286 plastic cups, 38 pieces of fishing line, 885 plastic fragments, 3 pairs of sunglasses, 1 pair of reading glasses, 31 ropes, 14 PVC pipes, 36 metal fragments, a pacifier and 1 mobile phone. The total number of items collected was 3,043! This is almost 1,000 items more than in 2012.
That evening, all participants and their families were welcomed back for a Pot Luck BBQ and raffle at the recently remodeled Dive Friends Bonaire @ Hamlet Oasis. Dive Friends Bonaire (with help from our sponsors) provided drinks and main courses, while participants supplied side dishes. Ricky Thomas provided the music and added a wonderful atmosphere to the evening. Hamlet Oasis is also the location of the Debris Free Bonaire plastic collection container, so volunteers learned more about the new coastal clean-up initiative targeting floating marine plastic that washes ashore on Bonaire’s east coast.
Sponsors for the event include: Selibon, Bonaire Food Group, Ouray Sportswear, Reef Clothing, Deep Blue Gear, Reef Safe Suncare, Your Scuba Store, Body Glove, the Bonaire Marine Park, Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire, East Coast Diving, Princeton Tec and Cressi.
The next quarterly Dive Friends Bonaire underwater cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, April 13th, 2013.
Additional information about the cleanups is available at: http://www.dive-friends-bonaire.com/activities.html#cleanups . All are welcome to join in.
For more information about the Debris Free Bonaire initiative, visit www.debrisfreebonaire.com.
Dive Friends Bonaire is one of Bonaire’s premier diving facilities with convenient locations at Yellow Submarine, Hamlet Bonaire, Sand Dollar, Dive Inn, and at Port Bonaire and three retail stores in Kralendijk. For additional information, visit http://www.dive-friends-bonaire.com.