It's the last day of April, and an intrepid group of divers from Academy of Scuba and a few friends from Sea Shepherd Marine Debris Team joined forces to clean up Mordialloc Pier, just south of the city.
Before we had even had a chance to don our dive gear, the squad was pulling up over 65m of plastic wrapping from the boat channel. Now, for those of you who have dived Mordialloc, you're aware, but if you haven't then know this: the site is, and has always been, like Melbourne's underwater junk yard. The pier itself is somewhat of an interesting dive, especially with the mussel colonies growing on the pylons, however there is a lot of trash here. Which makes for a very rewarding clean up dive!
Despite this, it was appalling and disappointing that there was so much plastic wrapping strewn in the channel. It was hauled out, with a member of the Sea Shepherd Marine Debris team jumping in the soupy, murky water to cut the wrapping which was knotted around the pylon. 3 fish were cut out of the plastic and swam away with a second chance at life. A dead cat was also in the water, which was foul and resulted in much discussion.
The dive itself was a huge success. Our team of 12 divers were equipped with mesh bags, though they were not big enough to handle some of the rubbish that was under there. The usual suspects of squid jigs, lures, bottles, cans and plastic bags were in plentiful supply below the waves. We scavenged and collected for around 75 mins, with an awesome support team up top keeping an eye out, and helping haul up the loot.
Post-dive, we sorted and arranged the debris into trash types and diligently documented our data. What followed was a very productive and thought-provoking conversation between all divers about the problem of marine debris and what further actions could be taken in the fight against it. The positivity and enthusiasm of the group cannot be overstated. It was a super constructive event, and a pleasure to organise. Throughout our time on the pier, we attracted a decent amount of attention, and everyone took the opportunity to engage with the public about our actions and the issues that the ocean is facing. It was awesome, and fun – and we even got blue skies!