On Friday the 25th January a group of 11 Dive Masters, DMT’s, and fun divers from Sairee Cottage attended a clean up dive. We returned to Japanese Gardens, a site we had done a clean up dive at a few months ago, with the intention of ensuring the site was still clean, and to try an area we suspected to be in a bad state but had not dived yet.
For the first dive we went to an area just before the dive site. We did this dive as a drop off so that the other divers on the boat could get to the actual dive site quickly. We started at the pier on Koh Nangyuan and swam into the dive site. The area closest to the pier was littered with a lot of debris – there was almost a carpet of beer bottles, interspersed with numerous pairs of sunglasses and tourists boat stickers. The majority of people visiting our small neighbouring island are tourists that don’t understand about the underwater environment and how fragile it can be. It is clear that there needs to be more information given to people visiting the island so they will help preserve it. This could be done with videos on the boat ride to the island that explain the importance of disposing of litter properly.
Each group on this first dive had filled their kit bags with rubbish by the time they had swum half way into the dive site, but as we went round the corner into Japanese Gardens there was very little to pick up, and it turned out to be a beautiful dive none of us had done before. We were also able to get up close to some trigger fish that were not as territorial as the ones living in dive sites, so we were able to get some great pictures.
For the second dive we returned to the channel between Koh Tao and Koh Nangyuan that we had cleaned last time. We were retuning there to see what kind of marine debris had come back, and to find out who was to blame for the mess. The last time we were there we suspected fishing boats, and even some dive boats, of being to blame for the majority of what was down there, based on the type of things we were bringing to the surface. Thankfully this time we found very little debris, and most of it seemed to be things washed in from the main land and other surrounding islands. The marine life we saw on this dive was amazing and got better the further from the dive site we swam. We started out seeing lion fish shrimps and nudibranchs, then as we got deeper we saw small porcupine fish and lots of small corals not found on most dive sites.
So, all in all it was a very successful trip, with a lot of rubbish being cleaned up, and a lot of interesting marine life found. After the dives we headed back to the shop for a group picture and a well earned cold beer.
Next month we will be returning to Sanram Pinnacle to remove the ghost nests that we didn’t have time to remove when we were last there.
So if you are on Koh Tao and want to help clean up our diving environment and enjoy 2 free dives at the same time, keep an eye out for the date of the next dive, and come and join us.