This week at Sairee Cottage we decided to change how we do our clean up dives. Instead of picking an over-dived or over-snorkeled site we chose to 3 spots round the north end of the island, 1 of which is rarely visited and 1 that divers avoid.
Our afternoon began at the pier on Koh Nang Yuan, which is used heavily by the Lomprayah ferry, numerous snorkeling tours, and a lot of small taxi boats, so timing was very important for the safety of our divers. Luckily the worst affected area was at a safe distance just round the corner. This area is very badly affected as no one dives there (for safety reasons) and a lot of fishing and dive boats moor up during storms and throw their rubbish over board. It is also hugely damaged by tourists who do not understand the damage that they cause by throwing litter into the sea. We were therefore kept very busy with a carpet of plastic and glass bottles, and all types of bike and car tyres.
The second site we chose to visit was Mango Bay, which is a commonly dived area. We decided to split the team up and send one group snorkeling for a shallow water beach clean, and another team diving in the area where the big snorkeling tours moor up. There is a resort on the beach so we didn’t expect to have to do too much work in the shallow water as they try to keep it clean and tidy, but we were pleasantly surprised by how little debris the dive team found in the heavily snorkeled area on the far side of the bay.
Our final dive site was an area called Bio Rock that none of us had ever dived before. We had been told that is an Eco Site that contains a Coral Nursery charged with electricity to help speed up growth. Everyone we spoke to about this site had different things to say about it, some thinking it was damaged in a storm, some saying the power was out, but no one we spoke to really seemed to know a lot about it. Unfortunately we had no map so didn’t actually find the coral nursery, but where we descended needed a clean up so instead of looking at other eco movements on the island for possible ideas we just got on with a 3rd clean up of the day.
A lot of debris was brought up over the day, and some of us got a chance to see new areas to dive and some marine life we had never seen before, including Dive Master Trainee Anne who found a baby octopus in a bottle and then set it free again. It was a great day out and worked well as a tour rather than picking specific dive sites.
Our plan for the next clean up dive is to head to the south of the island, so keep an eye on our Facebook page and Website for further information on this and our other eco efforts.
As always, a big thank you to all those who came along to help out.