On Saturday, April 11, 2015, 117 volunteer divers gathered at Dive Friends Bonaire @ Dive Inn for the famous quarterly clean up dive. Many STINAPA Junior Rangers and Sea Turtle Conservation volunteers were in attendance, as well as local and visiting divers. The dive site being targeted for a “spring cleaning” was the South Pier. South Pier is frequently in need of a clean-up dive because it is a popular area for fishermen as well as being the main pier used for cargo deliveries and cruise ships.
Asko Zuidam of Dive Friends Bonaire provided a safety briefing to address what items should be collected and explained that anything with coral growing on it or creatures living inside of it should be left behind. He also gave an explanation about how to carefully remove fishing line so as not to damage delicate sponges or corals. After the briefing, the divers entered the water in front of Dive Inn and swam the short distance over to the South Pier. When their bags were filled with marine debris, they brought the bags to the surface and handed them over to the Dive Friends crew who were working as shore support. Volunteers checked once again to be sure that no marine creatures had been inadvertently included. Then, everything was counted, tallied for Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris program, and disposed of responsibly.
Volunteers collected 164 glass beverage bottles, 17 cans, 96 pieces of dangerous fishing line, 1 cruise ship pass, 141 plastic fragments, 15 cardboard fragments, 5 shoes, 16 pieces of rope, 1 fishing net, 1 hammer, 4 tires, 1 cheese grater, 1 toothbrush, 26 items of clothing (including one pair of Superman underpants!) and much more. A total of 987 items were removed from the marine environment.
All participants and their families were welcomed back for a sunset BBQ and raffle at Dive Friends Bonaire @ Hamlet Oasis. Dive Friends Bonaire and sponsors provided drinks and main courses, while participants supplied the pot luck side dishes. In keeping with the spirit of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” Dive Friends Bonaire does not use disposable plates and cutlery, so the instructors and dive masters also spent a lot of extra time cleaning up after the clean-up. Sponsors for the event include: Beachcomber Villas, Bonaire East Coast Diving, Pasa Bon Pizza, Van Den Tweel, Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire, STINAPA Junior Rangers, Selibon, Deep Blue Gear, Reef, SubGear, Mares, Trident Dive, Esko Diveworld and Intova.
The next quarterly Dive Friends Bonaire underwater cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, July 18th, 2015. Additional information about the cleanups is available at by clicking here. All are welcome to join in. (Source: Dive Friends Bonaire)