In our new series My Ocean Story, we're getting to know the people of Project AWARE, finding out what drives them and what conservation actions they have in store for 2019!
Dive Centre: Not a dive centre, but we (my wife and I, with support from a local dive shop 'The Dive Company') lead clean up dives through a public open invitation community group on facebook 'SCCUD - Sunshine Coast Clean Up Divers'. It currently has 200 members and we've had 26 of them directly involved in cleanups.
Favourite marine animal: Coleoidea. I can't choose between cuttlefish and octopus, so I just state the lowest taxonomy grouping which includes them both. They are so inquisitive, beautiful, odd and extraordinary. Any dive where I get to see them is a good dive.
Favourite Dive: I'm easily pleased, I can't choose between several stand-out dives.
What’s your first memory of the ocean? Making sandcastles with mum and body surfing with dad.
What does diving mean to you? Escape, tranquillity, beauty, wonder, exploration, enjoyment... and washing gear *sigh*
How did you first get involved with Project AWARE? Through the very lovely Kelz Fletcher of Environmental Divers. Saw what they were doing, hosting cleanups and reporting data to Project AWARE etc, got involved, and then started doing the same thing.
Why did you start submitting Dive Against Debris® data? It just made sense to report the debris we were finding and hopefully create change with it. Project AWARE was an easily accessible first base to start learning about marine debris and recording it.
What’s on your list this year in terms of ocean conservation? Continue our monthly cleanups at the two sites we have adopted; start some social events alongside them; increase correspondence with local government to address debris issues and promote change; grow the number of divers leading cleanups; expand to include a third site in Noosa, a region just north of us.