Well yesterday was a day where a renegade legion of mercenaries banded together for a fight at Greta Point in Wellington Harbour, a location which myself and a few others dived the weekend before and found a great deal of rubbish.
After that dive I sat a home and trolled the net, as usual I saw the amazing work of the "Ghost Fishing" crew on Facebook. For those who haven't heard of the Ghost Fishing crew. (Check them out here - http://www.ghostfishing.org/)
"Ghost fishing is a term that describes what happens when derelict fishing gear ‘continues to fish’ " - Ghost fishing crew.
So I thought, it's time to stop talking and get something organised.. So before we knew it, we had a team of divers ready and we were on the beach getting some site pictures taken and sizing up exactly where the Patent Slip protected zone was. The Patent Slip is a historically protected site now thanks to MAANZ. See here for more information http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/evans-bay-patent-slip
The lady whom we talked with to on the phone turned out to be the owner of the company, once she realized that we were paying for the bags out of our own pockets for a volunteer event, she donated them to the cause...!! We were all stunned by such an awesome gift to the cause, and I have just found out after we let the owner know the incredible success of her custom bags she gave us another two...!!!!! (And these were not cheap bags.)
The bags took some incredible punishment as well, tyres batteries, very sharp glass and was very durable with withstanding the harshness of the environment and the means of getting out of the water with ease.
This wharf before the rebuild for the SOI restaurant was home to the Greta Point Tavern which must have closed down 10 years ago or more, sadly the beer bottles and similar remains reminded us that 10 years is nothing underwater as there was a mass grave of all sorts of bottles and junk. In my years of dive clean ups I have never seen so many bottles come out from the ocean.. It was just ridiculous.
The wharf rebuild which took place in the late 90s or early 2000 also had created a fair bit of mess as we found a great deal of junk from the builders etc. Building sites above water can be problematic and also Wellington and it's wind can be a huge issue for things getting blown over the side. Not only just that the things could be accidentally disposed off in the water, but we also found items that were intentionally disposed of. We found two car batteries just off the end of the wharf and also an aluminium ladder literally tied to the wharf pile in about 2m of water.
Christian Jones and I attacked this as Justine managed the rubbish bag which was getting fairly heavy. Christian took to the ropes like a chainsaw and after a few minutes of cutting in .5m visibility we had it free.. "High five" and we were off to an area with better lighting to strop the bag and other junk to the lift bag to send to the surface.
Learning to manage zero vis is an art in itself. Also very good buoyancy and trim on dive such as these is very important. Poor kicking technique or using hands to create propulsion U/W comes with disastrous results as the clouds of silt will engulf you in seconds... This can be very frustrating and extremely dangerous for the divers in the immediate area if they're in the process of lifting something bigger.
Car batteries are another common find, and are very hazardous to handle as battery acid is toxic and can cause burns.
Even batteries that have been sitting on the sea floor are still just as dangerous if not more as they are a sealed unit.
Apparently they are worth $12 a pop for the lead in them alone.
It doesn't.. This is an ongoing battle against a relentless enemy. We will continue to organise clean ups and just keep chipping away at the beast lift bag by lift bag.
I would like to say a huge thanks to everybody that came to support us at the clean up, it was an amazing turn out and everybody did an amazing job. Barb also for the occasion baked some lovely cupcakes and brought some Fresh Up juice for the crew which was magic.. So with that and Cheese Balls the crew was well fed.. Ha ha ha..
Also thanks to the couple that lived on site at Greta Point for lending us their hose for cleaning up at the end of the dive.
Final thanks to John Curran and the team at the Wellington City Council for sponsoring us with 120 bags and 100 pairs of gloves for handling the junk.
Great work team...
Regards Rob Wilson.