Monday, June 30, 2008

Preliminary Beach Cleanup at UST

Another beach cleanup at UST. This time, it rained all day, and I mean rained, not drizzled. So the event was canceled on the last minute. However, Mark and Martin were already on their way, so we decided to go anyhow. The water looked like milk-coffee, it did not stop raining, and it promised to be a really shitty day.
Yet, it turned out to be one of the better days diving in HK. Visibility was surprisingly good, around 5 meters under water. Only the top meter was a bit clouded.
Our objective for the first dive was to mark ghost nets, attach buoys to them, so they could be removed later. Indeed, the entire bay was full of abandoned nets, some up to 50 meters long. On our first dive, we marked several long nets, some of which were only a few feet apart. One net must have been lost very recently. It was entirely intact and had caught about 30 large crabs. In contrast to fish, crabs can survive a week or two, after they have been caught. The crabs in this net were mainly alive, but we could not wait another week to rescue them. So on the second dive, we took out this net, rolled it up, and swam it to the shore, where Albert had arrived and cut them free. Since most of the time, we swam on the surface, we still had about 130 bars left, and decided to go for a bit of sight seeing. Out at the water-intake, there were large schools of little fish. Nearby, we found an abandoned trap that held several fish including one file fish and a puffer fish. The latter idiot tried to break his way though the trap, got stuck, then scared, and finally inflated himself, out of sheer panic. We had quite a hard time setting him free. There were numerous white gobies, surprisingly swimming in the open water and reluctant to hide in their holes. Also, I spotted what I took to be a mimicking octopus, which unfortunately disappeared into a cave, before I could get a decent picture. Overall, we had an excellent crew, and most brilliant scuba diving. And we magically even managed to get a minor sunburn. Finally, we had Harvey, Arie, Christel, Liza and Kirill help us concluded the day with Kartoffelsalat, sausages, and Erdinger Weissbier.