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Mostly Everything

Harvest

It came to the point where I had to move a little bit of rock to get the sorry little buggers out of the crevices. Floating from an angle, I motioned to Denise that I wanted to give it a shot and grabbed the BBQ tongs to pry the crown out of its strong velcro-like grip on the coral. Try removing a piece of velcro using tongs and you can imagine how hard that is. Do it while trying to stay buoyant, with a video camera rig dangling from your jacket. Do it while trying not to harm the surrounding coral life.

We were deployed in Santelmo, a marine protected area, which had a higher density of Crown of Thorns starfish. The other cove, Etayo, was swept for garbage. The raw footage is over 30 minutes of video and perhaps my longest dive to date on a 3,000 psi tank of air. We were underwater for over 70 minutes at a maximum depth of 50 feet, explaining why we had so much. Surprisingly, the cove to the left of Pico de Loro had much to offer: coral patches with fish, lobsters at 40 feet, and a school of over 25 cuttlefish hovering by. Maybe we were just lucky.

The Crown of Thorns extraction is a project of Pepsi’s Sarap Magbago campaign in partnership with SM’s Hamilo Coast and the WWF Philippines. I am a WWF donor, volunteer diver and “video guy” for this cleanup mission.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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