If was early up in the morning of 30th September! This day Kon-Tiki Phuket would be a part of the biggest underwater clean up in the world with more than 450 divers just as many non-divers and 16 dive boats cleaning the reefs of Racha Yai, Racha Noi, Coral island and Phi Phi islands. .
Earlier this year, Tony Andrews, PADI regional manager for west Thailand contacted all dive centers with an idea of doing an underwater clean up. At the first meeting around 10 dive centers showed up for support and within the next couple of months the event just got bigger and bigger. But it was not only dive centers participating. All official government offices were there from marine police and the Thai navy to governor office to tourist authorities of Thailand.
Kon-Tiki left for Racha Noi with around 20 divers. Our task was cleaning up Banana Bay south. Onboard our staff Mikael Stenberg, Mikael Nilsson, Michael Mengel and Jim Chance went through the day’s program with all the other divers. We went through how to collect rubbish, what we should take back to the boat or leave, how to separate it and how to protect the ocean in the future.
First dive went good and with the staff guiding the divers and filling the bags. Then we had time for lunch and ready for the second dive. The biggest thing we found was a fishing net weighting around 300 KG and we estimate we had just about 600 kg of rubbish. We found things like ropes, cans, glass bottle, plastic bottle and fishing lines.
Before reaching the pier all boats who participated gather together at Koh Lon for a group photo. But the day didn’t end there. In the evening everyone was invited to party at Kan Eng 2 in Chalong. We had speeches from PADI and government officials, raffles (I won a dry bag), donations to Go Eco Phuket, free food, free beers, live bands and as the big surprise, JOB 2 DO a very famous Thai band.
In total 15 tons was collected, 450 divers and just as many non-divers, more than 100,000 THB donated to Go Eco Phuket underlined that this was a new world record for most people doing an underwater clean up. Will we do it again – Absolutely!
Kon-Tiki Phuket likes to say thank you to all who participated and anyone else who was involved in this event. Without you we couldn’t have done it. If you have pictures or stories you like to share please send an e-mail to Michael Wallentin at firstname.lastname@example.org