TRACC and members of JCI Luyang went on a coral planting trip in Kota Kinabalu Bay.
A disaster trip, we all learnt firsthand the pollution problems from plastic bags. We set off over a beautiful calm sea and after 20min of driving the boat motor just stops. A plastic bag has wrapped itself around the gearbox and blocked the cooling water intake. With the engine cover off the engine is glowing dull red and all the plastic and rubber are melting from the heat. We paddled to shore and tied up near a reef. We went for a snorkel on what used to be a TRACC coral nursery. There are no corals there now, they were all moved by TRACC volunteers when the Navy Base was built. It is a very good job we moved them because underwater there is very little living, a few sea urchins and almost no coral. The only coral were a few stunted pocillopora corals. I think we saw 10 in more than an hour underwater.
Back at the boat the engine is now cool enough to touch and will turn over with the starter rope. No chance of starting, the electrics are fried.
What to do Lah is a good Malaysian expression. We made a disaster into a success by planting all the corals fragments we could find. Next week when the engine is better we will move the corals to a nice reef with much less pollution.
Don’t laugh unless it has happened to you but it took us nearly 2 hours to paddle home. The lesson is do not discard plastic bags into the sea unless you want to blow up your own engine.