Question: what do you get when you combine 63 amazing volunteers, a collection of mesh bags, dive tanks, a trash container, and an enthusiastic Dive Friends crew?
Answer: Yet another amazing Clean Up Dive! In this blog, you can read all about the latest Quarterly Cleanup, organised on Saturday April 21st along the harbourfront.
For the Dive Friends crew, the day started early with the setup of the registration point in front of Bonaire Sailing School. They were almost immediately joined by the first volunteers who were most willing to help putting up the tent and arranging the tables. By the time the briefing started, 63 divers and snorkelers were registered and almost ready to jump in. However, not before Clean Up Captain and DFB instructor Caitlin Hale finished briefing them about our clean up guidelines, safety measures and the importance of taking good care of Bonaire’s beautiful coral reefs!
Paying extra attention to traffic in the busy boating area, divers and snorkelers got in the water between 10.15am and 10.45am. To avoid getting near any boats and creating potentially dangerous situations, DFB crew had placed a mooring line earlier that morning to guide divers safely towards the reef and, later, back to the exit point. Several divers were provided wooden, turtle-shaped tools to wrap up fishing line that they would collect underwater. We would like to give Sea Turtle conservation Bonaire a special thank-you for handing out these tools! Fishing line was one of the most targeted materials as it poses a serious threat to Bonaire’s sea turtles and other marine life.
Once again, there was an amazing team spirit underwater. Both divers and snorkelers enjoyed cleaning the area, even though they were giving extra Cleanup challenges given the strong current! Upon exiting the water, divers were assisted by our crew in taking off gear and taking the mesh bags to the trash collection point. Underway, many divers posed for our brand-new sign, to let the world know that they cleaned up Bonaire with Dive Friends Bonaire!
Some fantastic volunteers helped us with counting all the trash. A big thank you goes out to them as well! Together, we removed 1171 items from the reef, of which 42% was plastic. An approximate 573 meters of fishing line was collected. Compare this with famous building such as the CN tower (“only” 553.33 meters tall) or the Sears tower (“only” 527 meters tall), and you get a clear picture of the magnitude of the fishing line problem.
Among the most notable found items were a plastic Gucci bag, an alternator rotor and a can of sardines… actually filled with sardines! Although tempting, we decided not to bring it to the potluck barbecue that was held at Dive Friends@Hamlet Oasis the same evening. Once again, there was a table full of tasty dishes brought by the participants, and meat prepared on the barbecue by DFB crew members.
Our sponsors dedicated great prices to the raffle, which were handed out to the lucky winners prior to the barbecue. For this, we’d like to thank Bonaire East Coast Diving, Aqua Fun Bonaire, The Brewery, Caribbean Dive Trading, La Cantina, Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire, Delfins Beach Resort, DCNA, Coco Palm Gardens, Warehouse and Susan Porter. A special thank you goes out to Selibon NV, for providing the trash container during the actual clean up.
Once again, we had a great morning and evening, during which we even sang “Happy Birthday” for one of the volunteers who dedicated her birthday to this great cause! We look forward to the next Quarterly Cleanup, which will take place on Saturday July 21st. Can’t wait that long? Have a look at www.debrisfreebonaire.com and find out what more you can do. Stay tuned!