It's that time of year again that the weather has shifted and Ocean Divers go into the “Green Season” here on Koh Lanta. We are still out diving as long as the waves are not too large; the diving can be quite exceptional with some amazing visibility and great encounters with marine life, while enjoying less divers at the dive sites!This weather change is known as the Southeast Monsoon and the biggest effect it has for the dive industry on Koh Lanta is the change in wind direction. Winds change from off-shore to on-shore meaning that they have time to build up waves over the Andaman Sea. If these winds are strong then it means waves can be too large for the types of boats we use for diving, but for those that surf on Lanta it is great news!
Another change to the island that this wind shift brings is floating rubbish washing onto the beaches when there is normally none during the high season! Marine debris is a huge global problem and there are large amounts of floating debris in all the planet's seas and oceans. Dive sites around Koh Lanta are exceptionally clean so this is the only time we have the opportunity to help remove some of the rubbish from the sea as it washes onto our beaches.
Ocean Divers and Hidden Depths Diving have made a partnership beginning last year to organize and conduct regular beach clean-ups around the island. We are involving many Lanta locals who live and work here, mostly involved in the dive community. Our dive centres provide the trucks for hauling away the refuse as well as reusable bags and bins so as not to create any additional rubbish. All debris is recorded and submitted to Project AWARE's Marine Debris Project and recyclables are separated and turned into local recycling centres and the remainder goes to the island's dump.
So far this low season we have cleaned up Klong Nin, Long Beach (2) and Klong Dao involving dozens of locals (western and a few Thai) as well as some tourists visiting the island. Hundreds of kilograms of rubbish and recyclables have been removed from the beaches and waters so far. We will continue throughout the next few months until the wind shifts back and beaches remain clean. If you are on Lanta we encourage you to join us for the next clean-up or to do whatever you can from your home to combat this growing problem.