We just got this story from marine biologist Dr. Nicola Fletcher of Red Sea Research - enjoy reading. As somebody is doing something for the environment we decided to publish it more or less like we got it:
Eel Garden reef is a popular dive site situated just to the north of the well known lighthouse reef in Dahab. This well preserved reef wall is inhabited by countless coral and fish species. On diving this site over the months of June and July we observed that numerous tyres had been dumped onto and near to the reef in what can only be presumed as an 'out of sight ,out of mind' attempt at disposal. Red Sea Research a local and newly established marine surveying organisation consisting of several long term adopted Dahabians and addicted divers decided to plan a project to remove these tyres before they caused too much damage to the reef.
(video by Clive Hanna, Fish Eye Films)
What originally was planned as a small project to remove a few tyres became a somewhat large operation!! Tyres were collected over numerous dives (tide and weather permitting) and placed in a pile on the sandy bottom at the base of the reef wall, at a depth of about 18m. As the tyre pile grew it became apparent to all involved that this was going to require more assistance from locals and dive centres to make this a successful venture. Jonty (the project leader) contacted many dive clubs around Dahab and the national organisations (South Sinai Marine Protectorates (SSMP)) to gain permission to remove these tyres and for any man/equipment support we could get. Thankfully local support was plentiful as many of Dahabs residents are avid divers and love its reefs and marine life.
Eighty four tyres plus two huge, presumably tractor, tyres were collected together and placed in accessible rows on the sea floor. A boat, kindly donated by Sinai Divers, along with twelve locals and two holiday makers set out on a slightly rough monday morning to remove the tyres. Thankfully, the seas conditions calmed by lunchtime and the boat successfully anchored by a previously placed buoy not far from the tyres location. Two support snorkellers were positioned next to the buoy to communicate with the boat crew and the divers on the bottom. Dive teams were made up of two experienced divers, that attached a hemp rope to pairs of tyres and signalled to the surface to begin hauling. Our boat team, that consisted mainly of men willing to do manual labour, hauled the tyres through the water and onto the back of the boat. This process was repeated until all tyres were retrieved from the water and stacked at the bow of the boat, with dive teams exchanging places as necessary.
Everyone returned to the boat for a well earned lunch and the boat made its way back to the docks. All tyres then had to be removed onto trolleys or carried by the men to the awaiting truck, organised by the SSMP, for transportation to El Tor's recycling plant.
At the end of a very tiring but successful day our team of workers and supporting divecenters, Sinai Divers, Fantasea, Fantaseatec, Blue Realm, Club Red, Orca Dive Club, Dahab Divers, Jonty, Doug, Juergen, Sarah, Nicky, Carmen, Baz, Neil, Shaggy, Chris, Leeann, Justin, Paul, James, Clive, Richard, Jules, Johan, Peter, Uwe and the crew of the Ghazala 6 can feel proud that they did their part in helping to preserve our precious marine environment.
The scientific report written by marine biologist Dr. Nicola Fletcher can be found on the projects page of Red Sea Research. The team also published a picture gallery on Facebook containing more then 30 photos. (jdo)
(photo by Rich Carey)