Monday, December 20, 2010

Divers Free Whale and Receive Rewards of Love

The Whale...
If you read a recent front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso and a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them.

Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

Read the full story here.


2011 Schedule is now being created, if you have a pet project, know of sunken derelict vessels or marine debris, send MCII the GPS data and we will check it out. If you are a fisherman and continually are snagging the same places, send MCI those GPS coordinates and we will investigate.

January 2011 – Derelict Vessel work
February 2011 – Derelict Vessel work
March 2011 - Three day trip including two days of diving in Tavernier, Florida – March 18 - 20th - MCII will partner with the Coral Restoration Foundation of Tavernier and take 20 divers to learn coral “growing” and “planting” techniques and assist in the process. There will be some recreational diving as well. The trip is open to just the first 20 divers. We will add more trips if there is enough interest. This will be a fantastic trip both environmentally and recreationally. Others will call this eco-tourism. We will find a sponsor to fund a majority of the cost of this trip, but food and drink are on you.
April 8 - 9, 2011 – Turtlefest at Loggerhead Marine Life Center April 9, 2011. We will dive on Friday April 8th at 1:30PM in Fort Pierce to collect debris for a display at Loggerhead on the 9th. The event will be at the Marine Center on US1 just south of Juno Beach.
May 2011 – Marine debris operations TBA
June 25, 2011 – WETFEST of Water, Energy and Education - A national event that will focus on watershed issues and marine pollution and cleanup. The event will feature organizations interested and involved with water and energy issues combined with food, fun, music and drinks.
July 16, 2011 – Annual Inlet Maintenance Cleanup Dives in Sebastian and Fort Pierce as listed on

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Celebrate Earth Day April 22, 2010

From Yahoo News: "The global village prepares for the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day. We explore what people are planning to do all over the world."

Watch the Earth Day Video from Yahoo News.

Friday, April 9, 2010


By Captain Donald A. Voss
Operations Director
Marine Cleanup Initiative Inc.

Marine Cleanup Initiative Inc (MCII) was founded some nine years ago to address the repercussions of the disposal of monofilament fishing line, plastics, casting nets, cargo nets, and miscellaneous fishing debris into the Sebastian Inlet. Over the years, this effort has expanded and now encompasses the Fort Pierce inlet as well.

After the hurricanes of 2004 (2) and 2005, this effort has grown out of control. Annual cleanup dives are conducted, each lasting for about one hour, but are barely sufficient to remove a year’s debris, let alone the burden added by three hurricanes

MCII collects data and GPS pings for debris areas radioed into the Fish and Wildlife Commission by local fisherpersons. Amounts collected increase each year with the addition of more boaters and divers who are enthusiastic about improving the environment. Still, we are only denting the surface.

It is for this reason that the Board of Directors and the Operations Officer took on the giant task of writing and submitting an application for funding to the NOAA and have applied for a Marine Cleanup and Restoration of Habitat Grant, which the NOAA offered last October. As our cleanup season approaches, it is with great pride that we announce that MCII is one of eight finalists for funding from a class of nearly 200. The competition was fierce and all projects were equally important and deserving of funding.

Reasons given for funding included:
• An established record of collection
• Gravity of need for the input of resources for a massive collection
• Established grant administration personnel

It was also noted that this area is a prime hatching area for several species of turtles. And, although many people disbelieve the concept that monofilament fishing line is a problem, one only needs to read the article “Entangled Whale Seen Offshore” in the Scripps Treasure Coast Newspaper, Section B, Page 1 on March 20, 2010. Or visit the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach to recognize that there is a real problem and it is up to all of us to address it and help where we can.

And, how could we help? Although this Restoration Grant will bring many thousands of dollars into this area, matching funds are needed to make this project a complete success. Cash and in-kind donations are greatly needed to help pay for commercial divers to remove larger items, fuel for volunteer boat owners, and money to produce public service announcements and other educational presentations to further the cause and to educate youngsters.

MCII certainly understands that times are hard and there is not a lot of spare money to be had and we continue to search for funding sources and sponsors. Project T-shirts are being designed and will be offered for sale to help offset some expenses.

MCII will be working hard to prepare for this 24-month project, but will continue to operate the annual inlet dives using the great base of volunteer boaters, deck hands, spotters and divers and will continue to coordinate these dives with their partners. These dives will serve as annual maintenance after commercial divers remove the heavier objects, under the NOAA grant.

The Grant funds inlet cleanup from Sebastian to Fort Pierce, cleanup of abandoned crab traps along the 96 square miles of the Indian River Lagoon, the fishing catwalks along the bridges in this same area, the L-dock at Sebastian Inlet, three fishing docks in the Fort Pierce Turning Basin area, the former site of City Marina’s floating dock system, and Faber Cove. This project will last until finished, or until May 31, 2012, whichever comes first. The City of Fort Pierce will partner with this project and offer an office, docks, storage, a debris separation site and trucks to remove what cannot be reused for proper disposal. The Sea Grant Program will remove the plastics and fishing line, recycle it, and use any proceeds to fund their projects. Dive Odyssea in Fort Pierce and Deep Six in Vero will provide air and supplies for the divers as the project moves between the two areas.

A Marine Cleanup Specialist Diver Certification Program is being developed in partnership with Dive Odyssea and MCII and, once completed, will be sent for approval to a professional diving organization such as PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors). Once approved, the course will be offered to train divers throughout the country and will set nationwide standards for the industry to protect divers, boaters, aquatic life and the habitat.

Interested sponsors, volunteers, professional and commercial divers, and other interested parties may contact Operation Director Captain Donald Voss at 772-528-0675 or check online at Let’s all Dive In and Cleanup.