Ghost Net Clean-up, Thailand

Today was an awesome day… I wasn’t prepared for how good it would feel to remove a ghost net from the reef I’ve fallen in love with here in Koh Phangan.

I saw the net when i was here in September, 3 meters high and 30 meters long, it had sunk on the bottom and was laying all over the coral (see video here). After weeks of coordinating, we finally got it cleaned up! Check out the video of our cleanup here!

Kotchasak, Cheyenne, Andrea, Ivan, me, Vera and Yamil

Well thanks to the crew from Haad Yao Divers, this afternoon we went out and retrieved it! We left the dock at Chaloklum pier around 3:30, and on our way to Haad Salad we sat around the table and planned how to remove the net.

Safety was priority, so the plan was to dive in pairs along the length of the net, and because of the anticipated murkiness of the water, every pair had to see the next pair on the line. One diver of each pair would cut the net free from the coral, and their buddy would hold it off the bottom and wrap it around a float line. They planned to cut the net in 3 to 4 meter lengths to keep it manageable. I would freedive from the surface and collect the pieces, tying them closer to the float and swimming them to the boat.

It felt really good to put together a plan of action as a group, and by the time we got close to the dive sight, i was feeling pretty great about this crew.

Visibility was crap, and once we started pulling up the net it went to zero. The divers were on tanks and i freedove, diving down to collect the net as they cut it free and tying it up to floats on the surface.

I had a blast diving up and down in the thick pea soup… I followed their bubbles down until i saw their dark shapes moving on the bottom, collected handfuls of net and floated back up. Then i’d tie up each piece to the floatline. Little did we know what kinds of surprises were waiting for us in those bundles!