Dean’s Blue Hole, Part 2

Pretty, from a distance…

This one will probably wreck your day.

For those not familiar, Dean’s Blue Hole is a heavily trafficked area as far as the Bahamas goes. It’s one place that a lot of people who make it as far into the world as Long Island end up visiting, and partly because it’s a famous dive spot.

Our trip this time to Dean’s Blue Hole was quite different than the first time we came here. In 2020 we found a fairly clean beach and area. We snorkeled and saw clear water and many fish. It seemed pretty healthy aside from a small amount of the usual plastic found on almost every beach. Not this time!

The ocean trash we saw here this time was truly sickening. Only 3 of us ventured into the water at all. There was so much floating plastic trash that even pushing it aside as I swam, I was constantly swimming through it.

It wasn’t just on the surface either. It’s all throughout the water column.

The plastic is breaking down into smaller and smaller bits of plastic. When this happens it gets eaten by fish and turtles (and everything else) and they die. I’m not going to presume to know the science behind all of the effects. What I see with my own eyes is that there were very few fish here. Swimming around the entire area I saw less than 100 fish and I’m trying to be generous.

Here was one fish I was able to catch a picture of. Before this area was teeming with fish.

I got too many pictures of plastic in the water to post. For a while I tried to grab as much of it as I could, and I made a few trips in to shore to hand off arm-fulls of plastic to be brought up onto the beach in the hopes that someone could dispose of it properly. I kneeled in the sand on the shore, tired, disgusted and sad.

We’ve always seen some plastic on the ocean beaches we’ve been able to walk. The seagrass collects naturally on the shores and provides a natural velcro to catch and hold plastic of all sorts. Under normal circumstances this provides an opportunity to collect the trash before it can get washed back out to sea in a storm. We have spent days out here cleaning different beaches and areas when we can, never knowing if it’s futile and the trash will just accumulate again tomorrow.

This year seems different. The plastic and volume of trash washed in from the ocean is many times more than we saw before.

It washes up from everywhere around the planet that it’s allowed to escape from. Many countries, the US included, allow trash to be dumped out at sea as a way to dispose of it. Except that isn’t really disposing of it is it now? More like putting it on a slow conveyor belt to wash up on a shore somewhere while poisoning the entire ecosystem in the process. Out of sight, out of mind.

The rocky shorelines of the Bahamas are excellent filters for catching plastic trash as it washes ashore.

Many of us don’t even know about it as an issue. As your eyes and ears on this one, I can tell you it’s a big issue. I can’t help feeling that if the oceans die, we die.

I dont know what to do. Do you?

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