I have lived on Oahu now for about three years. I am in the final semester of my bachelor degree at the university of hawaii and have always been in love with the ocean. I started diving about 8 years ago and am now blessed to live just feet away from the Kaneohe bay. I finally had the chance to dive in the bay and I was blown away at how beautiful, vibrant and diverse the reefs were. None of my dive friends had ever talked about diving in the bay so I didn't expect much. I even saw a baby hammerhead which was a nice surprise. However, after about 5 minutes, I noticed a huge section of coral that had been destroyed. I moved closer and noticed that a section, the exact shape of a rounded boat bottom, had been destroyed. I continued my dive, not sure what had caused the destruction. On a one hour dive, I saw at least 15 sections that had the same damage. Some were the size of a boat, others, the size of an anchor. All were large coral heads that were otherwise healthy. At the time, I was diving off my kayak and had carried the anchor to the bottom and buried it in sand. About a week later, my brother had informed me that he had taken a boat course which is offered on the marine corps base and that he was going to rent a boat for us to dive off. We packed our gear on the boat and set out for the dive. I was sitting in the front of the boat and suddenly noticed that we were approaching a reef. I yelled at my brother to stop and he was barely able to get the boat in reverse before we kissed the reef. Fortunately, we didn't strike the reef and cause damage, but I was furious that there were no markers. A few of the reefs did indeed have markers, but not all. The ones that did have markers, were just small sticks that could easily be missed. On top of that, very large reefs, had but one marker, making it very difficult to know where the reef started and ended. Finally, it came time to drop anchor. I remembered the damage I had seen so I was extra cautious. As I quickly realized, our choices were to anchor in the sand bar and swim a long way to the reef, or drop anchor into deeper water and hope we didn't hit any coral. We only found one mooring point in the bay and it was close to the sand bars. There were no mooring points that we saw which were near the reefs. I believe this is why we saw so many anchor strikes. The bay has placed mooring points on the sand bars thinking that this is where people will want to hang out. However, others who are trying to anchor elsewhere, will simply drop anchor anywhere once they can't find a mooring point.
I have decided to make this my personal mission. I have now spent my entire savings account aquatica gear for my 5d ii. I am going to document the damage done to the reefs in Kaneohe bay and try to get a petition to increase the number of mooring points, increase the presence of reef markers and, if possible, convince the Kaneohe marine corps base to no longer include anchors in their rental boats. I know that nothing I do can reverse the damage and careless people will continue to damage the reef but I feel like I have to do something to at least slow the damage. I have never done anything like this so anybody who has any advice or tips as to how I should go about it, they would be much appreciated.