Unable to resist the temptation of diving another pier in Florida, we signed up with Divers Cove for the Dania Pier Cleanup effort. It’s usually illegal to dive within 100 meters off Florida’s piers, for the good reason that fishermen frequent these and the threat of entanglement or being hooked is very real! Once a year, the pier is closed to fishing and the county and lifeguards open it up to divers for a ‘pier cleanup!’
On our last cleanup, we were lucky enough to have family visiting that also volunteered and worked as our beach assistance crew. This time we were on our own and had to organize to be fully autonomous. One of the biggest dilemmas was what to do with the car key electronic fob. With a stroke of inspiration, we placed it in a watertight GoPro case and this seemed to do the trick. For all you divers out there, what do you do with your car fob?
The event drew a pretty big crowd and we estimate that at least 50 divers were participating. Other volunteers were picking up debris in buckets lowering these down into the water from the pier or collecting it on kayaks. There was a group on shore separating the glass, rubbish, and lead into piles to be disposed of in the appropriate manner.
We started our dive at 9am, one hour after low tide and visibility was poor with a fair bit of surge. All the same, as we got into about 12-15 feet of water (halfway or so down the pier) things got a little better but we estimate generously a 10-foot visibility. We did manage to see a sleeping nurse shark under the pier; I guess he hadn’t seen the facebook post about the cleanup! We saw lots of crabs, some drum fish, and some sea spiders among the usual reef fish.
I think between the two of us we must have picked up at least 200 lead weights alone. There were so many sinkers, and large ones at that! Just one after the other to the point where I was having a hard time lifting my trash bag up off the floor of the ocean! We made two stops to the buckets; those guys must have struggled to lift our load the 20 or more feet up to the pier. We also found a little treasure – we have to say our first ocean treasure find! While heavily corroded to the point of being paper thin, we suspect these used to be pennies. Then again, maybe they are ancient Spanish doubloons! I think we have to keep on hunting these Florida shores…
After a little over an hour, we made our way back to shore to see some of the collect thus far. “A lot of lead all around” people were saying. While some of the folks that had come to fish were grumbling at not having access, a nice couple of gentlemen actually thanked us for our service in doing the cleanup. It was nice to hear.
Tomorrow we have a beach cleanup planned, but after that we are already thinking that it might be nice to do a boat based wreck dive just for fun. We’re also starting to plan our Ireland trip, which is coming up fast. No diving this time, but lots to see and we are excited to see a new destination which promises to leave us with some great memories. A wonderful place to spend our 20th Wedding anniversary… more on that in a future post!
It’s our planet – let’s clean it up!