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The ScubbleBubbles Foundation Continues To Fight For Cleaner Reefs In Aruba

by Carolyn Lee Sep 9, 2019

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On 22 September 2019, several groups and organisations will participate in the annual Aruba Reef Care Project.  

One of the organisations that have been at the forefront of this endeavour is the ScubbleBubbles Foundation. 

The foundation started as a scuba diving class with a teacher and students from the International School of Aruba.  

It has grown into a reputable scuba club consisting of 40 members, all of whom are volunteers. 

Yello caught up with Nichole Danser, the president of ScubbleBubbles. 

Nichole shares how the foundation was created, the work that they do and the plans for this year’s event. 

Tell us about the ScubbleBubbles Foundation. Where did the idea come from? 

We were diving, and the kids who had more experience recognised that some reefs looked more alive than others. They also noticed that the same reef would look different in a few months. 

They started to research to find out what was going on with the reefs. They learned that the reef system in the Caribbean was being lost and wanted to do something about it.  

So, they researched ways to help the reefs. Some of them even travelled to Bonaire to take a coral restoration course. 

How long have you been operational? 

While it all started in 2016, we became a foundation in the summer of 2018. 

What is the mission and goal of the foundation? 

The mission of the ScubbleBubbles Foundation is to get more young people in Aruba active in Ocean Conservation activities. The goal is to empower young people to make a difference by restoring and saving the reefs. 

Why is a foundation like ScubbleBubbles so important and necessary? 

It is easy to feel powerless when you hear about all the damage that is happening to our planet. ScubbleBubbles offers everyone a little hope. We help young people to be the beacons of hope for their future.  

It is amazing to see how much pride they have when they see how big the coral has grown, or the fish that have made it their home. 

What are the top three key activities that you engage in annually? 

  • We do monthly reef clean-ups with the help of ALFI (Aruba Lionfish Initiative) and DePalm Island. We also clean up Spaans Lagoon. It is depressing to see how much trash we pull out on a regular basis. 
  • We currently have two coral restoration projects and nurseries. This is where we raise coral fragments until they are large enough to be placed back onto the reef. It is a lot like gardening, but with corals. 
  • We help local youth get their PADI scuba certification, so more youngsters can have access to the ocean and its beauty. This year we have helped seven people with their initial certification. One of them is doing Dive Master training as part of leadership development. We plan to do at least three more scholarships this year. 

Tell us about a recent project. What were some of the key lessons from it, successes or challenges experienced? 

We recently did a beach clean-up behind the Alto Vista Chapel. While there was a lot of visible garbage, it was shocking to find so much plastic under the ledges.  

The volunteers were in the water, using mesh bags to collect small plastic pieces that were essentially trapped under the ledge.  

If we didn’t look up, all that plastic would still be there. It just reminds us that there is a lot we do not see. We need to come up with better ways to do clean-ups. We need to use less plastic and reuse our packaging. 

How many years have you participated in the Aruba Reef Care Project? 

This will be our second year participating in the Aruba Reef Care Project. Before we started participating, we coordinated fundraising events and made donations to Aruba Reef Care. 

What do you have planned for this year? 

This year, we will be working with ALFI and DePalm Island to do Spaans Lagoon, the area near the boat launch, a couple of reefs near DePalm Island, and the beaches in the area.  

It is a big area, but we have a great group of volunteers. 

How can interested persons support or join the ScubbleBubbles Foundation? 

We are still a relatively new foundation, as such, we welcome help. This could be with designing flyers and posters or accounting and tax services!  

We would love for additional scuba divers to participate in our reef clean-ups or restoration projects.  

An effective way to get in touch is to send an email to [email protected] and include what you might be interested in helping with. 

If you would like to stay abreast of the work that the ScubbleBubbles Foundation is doing, follow their Facebook and Instagram pages.  

All photos provided by The ScubbleBubbles Foundation.