Dive Friends Bonaire Volunteers Clean Under the World Famous Town Pier
On Saturday, July 18th, 2015, 95 volunteer divers gathered at Dive Friends Bonaire @ Yellow Submarine for the famous quarterly clean up dive. Attendees included Broadreach (a visiting group of teenagers from the US) as well as local and visiting divers. The youngest and most enthusiastic clean up dive volunteer was 10 year old Abigail Petrich, who was certified as a PADI Open Water Diver just a few days earlier.
The dive site is normally off limits to divers, so everyone looked forward to the exciting opportunity to dive under the world famous Town Pier. Town Pier is always in need of attention because it is a popular destination for fishermen as well as a high traffic area for cargo deliveries and cruise ships.
Asko Zuidam of Dive Friends Bonaire provided a safety briefing to address what items should be collected and explained that anything with coral growing on it or creatures living inside of it should be left behind. He also gave an explanation about how to carefully remove fishing line so as not to damage delicate sponges or corals.
After the briefing, the volunteer divers headed over to enter the water via steps just south of Town Pier. When their bags were filled with marine debris, they brought the bags to the surface and handed them over to the Dive Friends crew who were working as shore support. Volunteers checked once again to be sure that no marine creatures had been inadvertently included. Then, everything was counted, tallied for Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris program, and disposed of responsibly.
Volunteers collected 218 glass bottles, 75 pieces of fishing line, 34 plastic cups, 136 plastic fragments, 77 cans, 11 batteries, 54 wood fragments, 17 bricks, 12 shoes, 24 full bottles of beer, a potted palm tree and much more. A total of 1,063 items were removed from the marine environment.
All participants and their families were welcomed back for a sunset BBQ and raffle at Dive Friends Bonaire @ Hamlet Oasis. Dive Friends Bonaire and sponsors provided drinks and main courses, while participants supplied the pot luck side dishes. In keeping with the spirit of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” Dive Friends Bonaire does not use disposable plates and cutlery, so the instructors and dive masters also spent a lot of extra time cleaning up after the clean-up.
Proud sponsors for the event include: Beachcomber Villas, Bonaire East Coast Diving, Van Den Tweel, Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire, Selibon, PADI, Alejandra Riquelme, Deep Blue Gear, Esko Dive World, Trident Dive and Ocean Reef.
The next quarterly Dive Friends Bonaire underwater cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, October 17th, 2015.
Additional information about the cleanups is available at: http://www.divefriendsbonaire.com/eco-activities/ All are welcome to join in.
For more information about the Debris Free Bonaire initiative, visit www.debrisfreebonaire.com.
For more information about Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris program, visit http://www.projectaware.org/project/dive-against-debris.