The last weekend in September was the most rewarding weekend of 2012 for me.
Why? Because I was involved in a world record breaking dive for debris event with Go Eco Phuket.
650 divers & beach cleaners, 14 dive boats & an astonishing 15 tonnes of garbage gathered!
Our dive boat spent 2 days at Racha Noi with 23 divers on board hauling up over 5 tonnes of fishing nets, meshes, tyres, pipes, plastic & clothing.
The biggest challenge was lifting a sprawling fishing net. It took 3 long dives over 2 days to carefully cut away the net from rocky reef, re-locate resident marine life such as sea cucumbers, triton shell & trumpetfish and attach all the rope & lift bags we could.
It took an astounding 1800kg of lift bags to eventually lift the heavy net from the sea bed. It was such a sense of achievement for the team to finally surface the fishing net. However there was no way we could lift the net out of the water ourselves.
We dragged it to deeper waters and asked a fishing supplies boat to use its crane to lift it. Unfortunately the crane starting to snap under the weight of the net - it could only lift 1 tonne and the fishing net weighed far more.
So the fishing boat dragged the net to a Thai Navy frigate and the net was pulled onto its ramp. It was so heavy it took co-operation from the crews of the fishing boat, Navy frigate & Thai marine fishery department staff to haul the massive net clear of the sea.
No doubt 5 minutes for fishermen to drop the net initially ... 5 hours dive time & 5 hours work on the surface to remove it!
Great teamwork, awesome tenacity & amazing results to protect the marine environment. And I made some like-minded new friends in the process.
Truly a worthwhile weekend!