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Saturday, August 13, 2022
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Underwater Clean Up Beautifies Boardwalk

Volunteers on the boardwalk pull up bags of trash recovered from divers in the harbor.Volunteer divers scoured Christiansted harbor Saturday morning to beautify St. Croix’s busiest tourist attraction. Bottles, rope, and fishing line were dragged up from below along with several surprising items that left the volunteers scratching their heads.

Ed Buckley, owner of St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures (SCUBA), said Christiansted harbor was already a prime stretch of Caribbean waterfront, but it could use some help. He said volunteers were focusing on the water closest to the boardwalk, so visitors peering over would see the beauty of the island’s tropical waters and not the remnants of Christiansted’s many parties.

The harbor clean up took place on the same day the St. Croix Environmental Association launched a series of roadside litter patrols to clean the path of next weekend’s St. Croix Ironman Triathlon. Though the race begins in Christiansted harbor, Buckley said the two clean up efforts weren’t planned jointly and the timing was just a happy coincidence.

Scuba divers and snorkelers scoured the harbor bed for trash. Several of the volunteers brought their spear guns as well and took breaks from hunting bottles to clear out some invasive lionfish. Buckley mused that their efforts might make the swimming leg of the triathlon a little less dicey for the athletes.

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“We don’t want none of these athletes to come out of the water and step on one,” he joked.

Approximately 30 volunteers spread out along the boardwalk, from the seaplane terminal all the way to the fort. A handful took to the water with scuba gear or snorkels, filling up mesh bags with whatever refuse they found below. The rest of the volunteers staid on land, hoisting filled bags up onto the boardwalk and transporting them to the dumpster.

Volunteers wrestle a traffic control gate found in the harbor.While bottles were by far the most common item found, divers found plenty of interesting artifacts. A screen door was pulled out near the fort, as was an old metal lobster trap – no lobsters inside, the volunteers were sad to discover One diver found one of the boardwalks light poles completely intact, but covered in barnacles.

Near the seaplane terminal Christoph Hilty and Todd Manley dragged up an outboard motor that looked almost good enough to be functional.

Christoph Hilty, right and Todd Manley hauled an outboard motor out of the harbor.“The spark plugs aren’t even rusted,” Hilty said with surprise while inspecting it back on shore.

The largest find was a steel crowd control barrier, likely lost one St. Patrick’s Day or at a previous triathlon. Divers secured the barrier with rope and volunteers on land hoisted it up onto the boardwalk with little difficulty.

Clint Briggs, a dive instructor for SCUBA and one of the event’s organizers, said the day was a chance for the Christiansted boardwalk community to take care of their harbor.

He said organizing the event was fairly simple. He simply spread the word amongst the boardwalk companies and ran an add asking for help. Representatives from SCUBA, Seaborne Airlines and Big Beard Adventures answered the call, along with people who thought it just sounded like fun.

“It’s all just friends of the island, man. We’re all here trying to do something good,” he said.

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Volunteers on the boardwalk pull up bags of trash recovered from divers in the harbor.Volunteer divers scoured Christiansted harbor Saturday morning to beautify St. Croix’s busiest tourist attraction. Bottles, rope, and fishing line were dragged up from below along with several surprising items that left the volunteers scratching their heads.

Ed Buckley, owner of St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures (SCUBA), said Christiansted harbor was already a prime stretch of Caribbean waterfront, but it could use some help. He said volunteers were focusing on the water closest to the boardwalk, so visitors peering over would see the beauty of the island’s tropical waters and not the remnants of Christiansted’s many parties.

The harbor clean up took place on the same day the St. Croix Environmental Association launched a series of roadside litter patrols to clean the path of next weekend’s St. Croix Ironman Triathlon. Though the race begins in Christiansted harbor, Buckley said the two clean up efforts weren’t planned jointly and the timing was just a happy coincidence.

Scuba divers and snorkelers scoured the harbor bed for trash. Several of the volunteers brought their spear guns as well and took breaks from hunting bottles to clear out some invasive lionfish. Buckley mused that their efforts might make the swimming leg of the triathlon a little less dicey for the athletes.

“We don’t want none of these athletes to come out of the water and step on one,” he joked.

Approximately 30 volunteers spread out along the boardwalk, from the seaplane terminal all the way to the fort. A handful took to the water with scuba gear or snorkels, filling up mesh bags with whatever refuse they found below. The rest of the volunteers staid on land, hoisting filled bags up onto the boardwalk and transporting them to the dumpster.

Volunteers wrestle a traffic control gate found in the harbor.While bottles were by far the most common item found, divers found plenty of interesting artifacts. A screen door was pulled out near the fort, as was an old metal lobster trap – no lobsters inside, the volunteers were sad to discover One diver found one of the boardwalks light poles completely intact, but covered in barnacles.

Near the seaplane terminal Christoph Hilty and Todd Manley dragged up an outboard motor that looked almost good enough to be functional.

Christoph Hilty, right and Todd Manley hauled an outboard motor out of the harbor.“The spark plugs aren’t even rusted,” Hilty said with surprise while inspecting it back on shore.

The largest find was a steel crowd control barrier, likely lost one St. Patrick’s Day or at a previous triathlon. Divers secured the barrier with rope and volunteers on land hoisted it up onto the boardwalk with little difficulty.

Clint Briggs, a dive instructor for SCUBA and one of the event’s organizers, said the day was a chance for the Christiansted boardwalk community to take care of their harbor.

He said organizing the event was fairly simple. He simply spread the word amongst the boardwalk companies and ran an add asking for help. Representatives from SCUBA, Seaborne Airlines and Big Beard Adventures answered the call, along with people who thought it just sounded like fun.

“It’s all just friends of the island, man. We’re all here trying to do something good,” he said.