After an adventure dive trip at Camotes Islands, Angel and I signed up for a clean-up dive at Opol Marine Sanctuary to join the force for the International Coastal Cleanup which DiveSpecial Diving Central organized with the LGU of Opol. Despite work pressures, we chose to be part of this endeavor – to do something worthwhile for the marine environment, a favorite dwelling which we wanted to visit more often. So we packed our gears, Angel flew again to CdeO and we went to Opol feeling joyful for the activity and excited to discover another underwater scenery. When we reached the Ajis Beach, the area was teeming with people already. It was good to see Mario, Ma’am Cristy , Mar Brandy and Cris. It was a sunny Saturday, actually perfect for beach antics – I saw banana boat, jet ski and kayaks just waiting around for a ride!
We were the first group of divers who went down for the clean up, with XU-College of Marine Biology students and a dive guide from LGU, all were men. I’m always thankful that Angel is with me in my dives, I would be honest to admit that diving alone with strangers is sometimes awkward but with my favorite dive buddy I can always count on his abiding presence. After a short briefing from Mario, we climbed up the boat (Mar Brandy have to assist me) and cruised for about ten minutes to the sanctuary.
We anchored near the floating shed serving as guardhouse of the sanctuary, and prepared for the descent. I stayed near Angel as we started to go down but unfortunately I can’t with my three weights (?), I suspected it was due to my BC. Anyhow, I was able to borrow from the guide and another diver. Angel went up to see what’s wrong 😛 He signaled that we must stay near each other as the visibility wasn’t good. We descend on the shallow part and went around. It was somewhat tricky since we’re not there for just enjoying the scenery but to be quick also to find trashes underwater. Most of it have blended the environment, the silt have made them looks like part underwater. Angel and I found the planted car wreck! It now served as artificial reef, where some corals with lot of tropical fishes claimed as their home.
We found angel fish, damsels, wrasse, groupers, bat fishes, snappers, sweetlips, surgeons, clownfish, butterfly fish, puffers, and variety of anthias. There were branching corals, soft corrals, barrel sponges, cucumber and more. I managed to touch a long floating worm which Angel held for me with a twig. We searched for more trash until we lost each other! I got with me plastics, food wrappers, a whisky bottle, fishing lines, sachets, etc. when I ascend with the guide. Angel surfaced ten minutes later as I waited for him at the floating shed. We got unto the boat and cruised back to the beach as soon as everybody surfaced.
Another rewarding clean up dive, perhaps my gathered trash wasn’t much but doing something for marine life’s benefit is truly worthwhile. After taking lunch, getting a free shirt, taking photos – we packed our gears, freshen up and bid byes from the group. Angel and I left the beach resort with a joyful heart promisisng ourselves for another cleanup dive next year!