Today was yet another UST Beach Cleanup; my third. This one was a bit bigger and better organized than the previous years'. There was our president and a bunch of camera crews, etc. Bit too much PR and too little diving for my liking. As long as it saves our environment...
There were a total of 40 divers, so instead of assigning fixed zones, everybody was allowed to go wherever they want. Obviously, I was headed for the pumping station. (Thats the tower on the next pic.)
My buddy was an Irishman called Philip. He had only recently gotten a refresher, but proved to be of good humor and a solid no-nonsense diver. His equipment was a formidable piece of antique junk. The Spiro regulators had non-standard fittings, no Octopus, and no inflator hose !!! The poor guy had to inflate the BCD with his mouth. Anyhow, it was only going to be 5 meters deep, so equipment did not matter.
At the pumping station was a ton of sealife. A jelly fish was sitting int he intake, feeding without having to move. There were large schools of smaller fish, and three small artificial reef structures nearby. These harbored some larger fish, including this one, of about 30 cm length.
We also found some garbage. The first object was a snorkel. As it turned out, it was actually Philipp's, who had lost it a week ago during his refresher. (I needn't note that it was a non-standard piece of junk, measuring about 50cm in length.) However, I have a reputation to maintain, for finding the most impressive garbage object. Last year this was a 50 meter ghost net. This year, Philip and I found a lobster pot and a fish trap. Both were abandoned, and the trap had about 10 live fish inside, including a puffer fish. Yet again, an impressive find.
Someone thought it very funny to send me in the water with only 100 bars of air, so our trip ended after about 25 minutes. Phillip had been smarter, brought his own tank, had tons of air, but could not share due to lack of octopus.
In any case, we left UST pretty and clean, and made sure the TV crews left too and did not stick around too much longer.
This trip was the first with my new camera, an Olympus 5050, who I inherited from my fellow diver Ajay Joneja. He had bought a Canon S80 and found that he does not use the 5050 anymore. And he was so generous that he handed the 5050 down to me. (He will be treated to Antony's catch in return.) You can find some of Ajay's underwater photos here
The 5050 is an amazing camera. I wonder why Olympus discontinued this line. The underwater housing is even more impressive; totally over-engineered. It weights a ton and even has double O-rings. All of today's pictures were taken with this camera. However, I am just getting used to it, so I am sure the photos don't do the camera justice.