Reef Clean at Kariwak Reef, Tobago

5th October 2011.

Spent this morning along with staff and divers at Extra Divers Tobago helping to clean the house reef - Kariwak. It is in Store Bay, a very popular beach, which unfortunately means a lot of rubbish ends up in the water. The reef itself is really pretty - lots of hard and soft corals, sponges and sea fans. It is home to hundreds of species of fish, turtles, the odd ray, lobsters, crabs, the odd octopus and moray eels.

Armed with a net bag and gloves off we went in our buddy pairs searching for trash. We hadn't even made it out to the descent point before I picked up an empty beer bottle! Once down we fanned out finding plastic bottles, old rope, yet more beer bottles, tin cans, condoms, cigarette ends, food wrappers, plastic bags, plastic cups and clothing. I usually spend a lot of time on this reef teaching students so it was nice to be able to look at the reef at my own pace and explore parts of the reef I don't go to that often.

As I am scanning the bottom for trash I see a couple of drums drifting around in the surge, a spotted moray and a Caribbean spiny lobster hiding under a ledge. I also spot some blue material in the sand. I start clearing the sand away and see that it is the canopy of a parasol. It takes me about 5 minutes to get it free before I stuff it into my net bag.

By now my bag is heavy with rubbish so my buddy and I head back to shore with our haul.

Once we get back to the dive shop all the rubbish is sorted - we've collected around 300 pounds of trash. Hopefully Kariwak will stay trash free for a while yet before we head out again to clean it. Let's hope this will encourage others to Dive Against Debris.