NARC in Action 2010

Manorbier and Stackpole Quay – May 9th

The weather gods were on our side as we finally kicked off a busy diving season. We boarded Volsung at nine am with a BBC film crew (see picture) in tow to cover our first clean-up of the year. We headed to a stretch of coast just off Manorbier beach which we had never tried before. The amount of angling litter we found including 2 lost lobster pots suggest that this is a site that will see a repeat visit. We released entangled dog fish, pollock and a lobster. Next came Stackpole Quay and a great effort by 9 volunteers saw us lift over 200 weights, 100 hooks, line, cans, bottles, a flask, copper tubing, a crab hook and cloths. A fantastic start to the year with the day sponsored by the Milford Haven Port Authority.

The footage went out on Wales Today and Newyddion. Check out the BBC coverage here

Skomer Marine Nature Reserve – June 5th

Once again sunshine greeted our departure for our second clean-up event of the year and the first visit to Skomer Marine Nature Reserve for 2010. A full boatSkomer mnr 2010 brimming with 12 eager divers was soon empty (well apart from Andy of course) as everyone made the giant stride into the water off Low Point. An hour or so later and we were sorting through over 200 weights, 500 hooks, line, cans and plastic bottles. We also tried a new site with 2 divers spending 40 mins on the hunt for underwater litter. It is great to say we found the site to be just how it should be, free from man made objects. Needless to say we will be back to Skomer and Low Point through the season in an attempt to collect more of the litter that is there.

Hobbs Point – June 11th

Our first dip in the murky waters off Hobbs Point threw up the usual array of man made items that seem to found their way into an estuary of European conservation importance. 8 divers managed to find and lift amongst other things 6 lobster pots, 4 fishing rods, weights and hooks, bottles, cans, glass, pottery, rope, a scooter, a bike, CDs, tools, a torch, wire, steel, clothing, sparks plugs, batteries, rubber and metres of line. A great effort considering the usual 1 metre or less of visibility. A big thanks to the shore helpers daryl, ceri and for safety boat and assistance from the WMVS and Alistair from rudders boats yard. With all the divers commenting on the amount of litter still left at this site we look forward to trying to collect more rubbish from this area of the Pembrokeshire Marine Special Area of Conservation in the coming season.

Milford Marina – June 26th

As part of Pembrokeshire fishweek we dived into Milford Marina to carry out our second ever clean-up of this busy maritime area of Milford. Over 10,000 people were present for the day and lots of them witnessed us bring up shopping trolleys, traffic cones, bottles, cans, glass, plastics, tyres and metal. A great effort by 6 divers and our ever faithful shore support. Hopefully this dive went a long way to raising awareness of the amount or litter that finds its way into the ocean. A big thanks to the MVS for supplying a boat and assistance and for the MHPA for sponsoring the day.

Stackpole Quay – June 27th

Once again as part of fishweek we headed down to Stackpole Quay to get involved in an educational day aimed at children. The marine day involved engaging families in rockpooling, netting and all things fishy down at Stackpole. We did a shore dive and managed to collect weights, hooks, plastic and cans which were displayed to the children alongside the amazing marine life found on the day.

Skomer MNR – July 27th

Our second visit of the year to Skomer saw 10 volunteers joined by the BBC to cover our clean-up. After 50 mins of diving we managed to lift cans, bottles, pieces of fishing rod, 100′s of weights, hooks, lures and metres of line. We also managed to free an entangled dog fish and rather sad looking tompot blenny (in the picture). Excellent coverage on the UK and Welsh news along with a number of radio stations was huge in raising awareness of marine litter and the impacts it can have.

The coverage saw over 300 hits on our website, lots of new facebook members and heaps of emails showing support for NARC. The second dive saw us visit Wooltack Point to explore whether this current swept area of Jack Sound needed a clean-up dive. A small 30 minute window of slack water allowed us to drop in and collect weights, hooks and lures and ascertain that this amazing area of Skomer MNR could indeed do with a future clean-up.

A big thanks to all the volunteers, Andy the Skipper and the BBC crew for joining us on the boat and covering the story.

Check out the BBC National coverage here and the Newsround website here

Skomer MNR – August 21st

Hot on the heels of a mid week clean-up came our third visit of the year to Skomer MNR.We departed Dale with an overcast sky and rain interrupted by drizzle, a typical August day then. This weekend we were joined by members of Banbury Dive Club who contacted us after hearing about NARC on the BBC news. Needless to say it was great to have an extra boat full of divers keen to get in and help clean up part of this special Marine Nature Reserve. After giving the Banbury members a run through the clean-up equipment and the dive site we joined forces and went on the search of marine litter. Due to the numbers we were able to cover two sites, Low Point and West Hook. An hour or so later we had collected almost 100 weights, glass bottles, clothing, over 200 hooks and lures and released an entangled Lobster and manged to cut free a smothered Pink Sea Fan (see pictures below of before and after shots). A great effort by 12 volunteer divers and big thanks to Banbury for providing a boat and 6 of the dive team!

Your Stackpole event – Sept 11th

NARC were invited to attend a Stackpole event organised by The National Trust to celebrate the Stackpole estate. We took along some interpretation boards, leaflets and banners to raise awareness of the work we do in the waters off the estate. It was a great day attended by 100s of people many of whom visited the Narc stand to learn more about what we do. Earlier in the month we also dived at Hobbs Point to collect some footage of the underwater litter found there. Thankfully and unusually the visibility wasnt bad and we manged to capture footage of a lost lobster pot and commercial net still catching crabs and anglers tackle, a bike, lawnmower and various other bits and pieces you would not expect to find in a Marine Special Area of Conservation.

Stackpole Quay – Sept 18th

7 volunteer divers including some new volunteers left Dale aboard Volsong at 9.00am sharp with the sun shinning on a great September day. Our 4th visit of the season to fishermans point saw 5 metre viz and glassy sea conditions greet us as we rounded Stackpole Head. After an hours worth of air we had bagged just over 200 lead weights, 100 hooks and lures, line, spark plugs, sunglasses, cans, bottles and a diving mask. The rocky crevices often had piles of up to 15 weights at a time providing frustrating ground for anglers. Hopefully our new leaflets with the Pembrokeshire Federation of Angling coaches will help visiting anglers decide on the best rigs for the ground.

Hobbs Point – Oct 3rd

Our last trip of the year to Hobbs Point saw us joined by the BBC Xray team. They spent a number of hours filming our clean up at Hobbs with the episode airing on the BBC. The conditions and visability were kind and served up an unusual 3 odd metres meaning that finding litter was relatively easy. Between 5 divers and 45 minutes of compressed air we managed to collect a wide array of non nautical items including glasses, jars, cans, shoes, satelitte dish, lawn mower, computer, mirror, kettle, scooter, skate boards, bike, stereo and batteries. With a more nautical feel we managed to lift angling litter, a reel, lobster pot and a fishing net which contained a number of dead crabs.

The maritime volunteer service provided the necesary boat cover and we were lucky to have 3 shore based volunteers to help record and sort out the litter. A fantastic effort by all involved and we left with a feeling of not only making another dent in the amount of litter in the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC but also of raising awareness. Roll on 2011 and our return to this spot on the Haven. Claire Palmer of the MHPA joined us on the day (pictured) and we thanked her for the amazing support given by the Port Authority as sponsors on NARC.

Skomer MNR – 15/16th Oct

Two days of diving in the Marine Reserve have pretty much wrapped up a fantastic season of clean-up diving for the gang. The weekend saw volunteers bag almost 600 weights at 4 sites within the Reserve. Wooltack Point gives a very small slack window where the water only stops moving for about 30 mins before its time to start making your way back to the surface. With fantastic 5 metre viz and Jack Sound providing a spectacular backdrop a quick dip saw us collect over 100 lead weights, spark plugs, 3 fishing reels and heaps of line and hooks. Low Point threw up over 200 weights with West Hook also providing lead, line and lures. A great effort by xx volunteers over the two days and huge thanks to Andy aboard Volsung for the usual support.

Park Biodiversity Day 16th October

Not only were we out on the ocean over the weekend but we were also raising awareness of the Group and Marine Litter by attending a biodiversity event organised by Planed. A number of organisations were invited to share information about their work and how it helps keep Pembrokeshire special. There were a number of presentations over the day including an excellent talk by BBC wildlife vet Steve Leonard. Interpretation boards, pop -up displays and leaflets were provided showing how we carry out our clean-up dives throughout the County.