On the 27th of January 2014 I was guiding a few divers down at our local beach dive site when I realised how bad it was for nets and rubbish. Taking note of where on the reef I had seen the largest nets my mission began...
I arrived back at the shop with my mission in my head and some passionate divers who wanted to come back out an clean the reef up. I put it out onto the Pirate Divers facebook page and to the staff for the next morning that we would be heading out collecting the debris.
On the morning of the 28th I turned up to the shop at 0700 ready to drop divers off at the pier then head out with my team of eager divers cleaning the reef. There was just 4 of us, Rachel, Emily, Dan and Myself but this did not deter us from our mission. We drew maps and talked about the best way to pull up nets without causing more damage, equiped ourselves with bags to put our debris into and cutting tools. After the indepth briefings we all walked down to the beach laughing and joking about what we might find and bring back with us.
We surface swam around 300m to the reef where we decended to bad visibility but again this did not deter our group of eco warriors. after about 30mins we had filled the first bag with nets and were heading to the surface to discuss the next dive and area we would be dropping into. a little more surface swimming and we dropped in on the largest net, our main objective of the day!! This one was around 50m long and had already caused considerable dammage already with dead fish still caught in it. We spent the next 30 mins un peeling it from corals and cutting it where we had to with Me and Rachel doing the peeling/cutting and Dan/Emily the trusty bag packers we pulled away the entire net. Heading back to the surface we were all buzzing about cleaning up a site where we dive every week giving us so much it was a great feeling to be giving back.
Attaching 2 DSMBs to the bags it took us about an hour and 30 minutes to swim back into shore (with a cheeky rescue scenario thrown in for a DMT on the way). Arriving back at the shop at around midday we talked about what to do next, since then we have pulled up tyres, nets, bottles and all sorts of rubbish each day we go out diving and are planning our next big reef/beach clean up in the coming weeks so watch this space Koh Phangan!!!