Yesterday (30 July 2014) a report came in that a huge net was discovered covering the Kled Gaeow Wreck, making diving it impossible if not dangerous. A volunteer team made up of divemasters and instructors from most of the dive centers in Tonsai Bay was quickly put together, and within an hour we were heading out to the Kled Gaeow Wreck.
Details were sketchy as we had no idea the size and extent of the work, so organizing the 24 volunteer divers into different groups with different tasks was essential. Hat’s off to all those involved for banding together and doing what was necessary with such little notice.
On descending onto the wreck we found a huge net was wrapped from the bow to the stern from 26 meters depth and up over the tower at 14 meters. The visibility was only about 3-4 meters and since the net was a black thread it made it difficult actually seeing it. To make things worse there was a strong current. Groups spread out over the wreck to work in different areas in order not to get in each others way. Liftbags were attached to the top of the net at various points so that as we cut, the net would raise away from the wreck.
Fortunately the wreck has not been down for very long and therefore there was not any visible hard coral growth so the net did not cause any serious damage to the reef life. However there were a number of fish in the net but certainly not as many as we were expecting to find.
The work went very well and removing the net went quicker than anticipated and we were able to remove the net within the dive.
Since we were there and we had been expecting to do a 2nd dive we installed two more descent lines; one at the stern and one at the bow and attempted to remove the large tanks that were used during the sinking of the wreck, but the tools available were not up to the task so that will have to be a job for another day, another dive.
Well done to all the Phi Phi Island dive centers for jumping in and making this mission a success.