Ocean trash – bad for #scuba destinations

The garbage haul. From near Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Taken during one 50 minute dive.

The garbage haul. From near Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Taken during one 50 minute dive. Wasn’t able to pick up the tin cans and bottles.

I get asked questions about my scuba diving destinations a lot. Where’s the best place to dive?

My criteria is based on a number of factors – especially what I see and don’t see.

There are lots of places I really like and will continue to visit, such as Cozumel, Mexico and Roatan, Honduras (if they get their west end noise problem resolved). They’re reasonably easy to get to from Vancouver. Both places offer a diving experience akin to swimming in an aquarium.

They’re also mostly free of garbage in the water. If a divemaster or a diver (like myself) sees garbage, she/he picks it up. I’ve stuffed countless chocolate bar wrappers into the sleeve of my wetsuit.

I want to patronize dive destinations where people care about the ocean.

Don't like to see this.

Don’t like to see this.

The places I’ve been with lots of garbage in the water are the east coast of Bali near Padang Bai; Cuba, near Varadero and Bay of Pigs; and Kota Kinabalu, Indonesia. Beautiful places, but my diving experiences were diminished because of the trash.

I’m visiting Cuba next week and won’t be diving. Not interested in hauling my scuba gear thousands of miles to dive in ocean trash.

What I’d like to see is what’s done in Roatan, Puerto Vallarta and Cozumel – more divers and their guides picking up garbage when they see it. My plan for the future is to carry a mesh bag where trash can be stuffed during a dive. I hope others in the diving community will follow suit.

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