What to do during business shutdown?

Our black boat and snorkelling crew

In the last week we’ve repurposed our resources and used them to clean the seabed beneath Ilha’s old jetty – the pontão.

Right in front of the Palace, beneath the waves lies a beautiful underwater world.  There are incredible coral, all types of fish and a very impressive population of nudibranchs. It even has regular visits from endangered humpback dolphins. Part of the reason it’s so spectacular is because the pontão’s pylons and an adjacent sunken barge act as artificial reef, replacing lost habitat.

Nudibranch varicose phyllidia at home on one of the pontáo’s pylons

I can’t believe that any other city beach in the world has so much wonderful nature going on and all within a very small area. But it’s under lots of pressure from local pollution, destructive fishing with nets, inappropriate activities like jetskis and sadly, lots of rubbish.

The first rubbish to be brought up by Abdul

 

Selemane’s initial recovery

Using the boat our crew snorkelled down to the seabed and removed mountains of trash. This included beer bottles, cans, horrible lengthy tangles of fishing net and line, old clothing, disposable diapers, a motor bike tyre and lots of other discarded stuff.

Typical rubbish on seabed beneath pontão: cans, cord, disposable diaper, clothing, plastic bag

The Pontão is already one of Ilha’s best places to hang out.

The pontão is already a popular swimming area with locals and visitors. You don’t need a boat, just push off the steps and look down.  We have removed rubbish to enhance the experience by making it safer, cleaner and more interesting. But we also hope it will help focus people’s attention on how special it is. Lets get support for serious conservation and habitat protection here.

Motorbike tyre hauled from seabed

Its a good start but there’s still lots to do before we can say that this precious piece of marine habitat is getting the love it deserves.