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A Mission to accomplish

One, two, three, four, five …… that was the beginning of our four days three nights mission to Pulau Redang. While we were all excited about this mission, the organizer was busy counting the number of persons going on board the speedboat, making sure that no one is left behind. . All were geared up to face the challenge …. Fourth annual cleanup of the beach and sea.

Upon arrival on the island, the group which consist of 50 divers and snorkellers each lend a helping hand in ferrying participants personal belongings and organizers gimmicks and goodies. After settling down with a cup of drink, A.B.Lee the project organizer from The Diver’s Den shared with all the divers rules and regulations of the marine park of Redang and the importance of getting one’s buoyancy right . After which he then switched on a video to demonstrate the proper and accurate way to check and adjust one’s buoyancy.

For divers, buoyancy control underwater is the major challenge. A common fault is wearing too many lead weights on their belts and then by compensating by inflating the BCD to achieve neutral buoyancy . At the end of the day, one is swimming like a seahorse. At times, without one knowing, kicking corals with fins. Another point on BCD over inflation will lead to an uncontrolled ascend due to air volume change at different depths. Another piece of advice from A.B. is that diving equipment should also NOT be dangling all over the place and damaging corals.

The first and second dive at,a nearby islet, turned out to be a battle of buoyancy for many divers. Most of them found to be over weighted by doing the proper weighting before and after the dive. Underwater the divers were asked to perform on their buoyancy control by doing fin pivots, hovering and swimming through hula-hoops. In the evening, after a debrief on the Peak Performance Buoyancy dives, all divers have found themselves more relax and comfortable underwater.

Day 2

It’s 8 am in the morning, all participants dressed in the 4 Annual Project Aware t-shirt with Diver’s Den cap, one sided glove and a black garbage bag on hand ….. all set to invade the beach along Pasir Panjang searching for gold? No…… it is rubbish that we were looking. Rubbish particularly plastic bags, containers, bottles following the guidelines given to us by the Center for Marine Conservation in the United States. These are the culprits that caused many of our protected turtles death. Plastic bags resembles jellyfish while floating in the water. Jelly fish, food source for many marine creatures including the turtles… the end results, choke to death! On the other hand, pieces of dead corals were strictly left alone.

To spice up the activity the organiser announced there were buried ‘treasures’. Surprises were in-stored for those who find these treasures.

The mission … A site in Terumbu Kili where corals were covered by fishing nets. The group was told to check out the net site and familiar themselves with the area before actually venturing into cutting the net. In the afternoon the group were brought to Pulau Lima a memorable dive site for those who participated in the last year’s cleanup where they removed a fishing net. One cannot imagine the feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment to see with your own eyes, once again those CORALS are ALIVE!.

Day 3

Early in the morning all the participants were ready for the mission. The organizer divided them into groups. The scissors were assigned to the divers with the best buoyancy which they have learn during the PEAK PERFORMANCE BUOYANCY COUSE over the last two days. The second groups of divers were given mesh bags, as to pick debris off nets from the cutter and hook to the down line for the third group to pull up to the surface and transfer to the boats. After 5 hours of the project the divers did not realized how much they have cut until later the night when video was played. Round of applause to everyone. Well done. The group managed to clear the entire fishing net, it was certainly a pleasant site to behold. Each one of us made a promise to ourselves that we shall return next year to see the fruit of our work living again.

The closing ceremony was held after the delicious BBQ, certificates of participants were given out to everyone and also prizes for the treasure hunt and games. Before, we knew it, it was time to bid farewell to newly made friends and buddies from previous years.

The Future

If awareness were not created, efforts were not made to conserve our marine paradise, what is left for our younger generation? Pulau Redang even though categorized as marine park, the odds are still stacked against its corals and marine creatures. There is real danger, that if you are not careful, Pulau Redang and our other islands in Malaysian waters may well end up with polluted waters, depressing underwater scene, and increasing number of endangered marine species and creatures.

Diver’s Den is the only dive store which works closely with PADI Project Aware and Center for Marine Conservation(CMC) which is globally known for their dedication to protecting ocean environments and marine life. Diver’s Den as a dive operator has organized Cleanup for 4 consecutive years and through this such group event, we hope to educate more divers and non divers on marine conservation which we have successfully achieve over the years.

Those who are interested to help and care for the reef the coming year or need any information can call Diver’s Den at 03-2542693.

Courtesy of Mona Kho (Dive Buddy)

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