Full Circle

Awareness inspires conservation. 

A recent opportunity presented itself to raise awareness of a problem and a solution to that very problem ~ in one photograph. 

This summer I traveled to Isla Mujeres for the annual whale shark migration, and I wore my new Mona swimwear and eagerly shared its mission with the others on the trip. 

On the way back from our first day of diving, we stopped to freedive at a beautiful reef just off the coast of Isla Mujeres. Expedition leader Ryan Walton offered to take photos as I was freediving with my new swimwear to show support for Mona and raise awareness of this inspiring movement. 

On the very first dive, I immediately found a big plastic jug under a coral head, right on cue as if it were scripted. 

That’s when it came full circle ~ I was wearing swimwear that was 100% made of plastic collected from the ocean ~ while collecting plastic myself. 

In a perfect world, we would never see anthropogenic materials on a coral reef, but this world is far from perfect. I continued to dive down, collecting trash on every single dive and making multiple trips back to the boat when my arms were full. 

The other people in the group joined me and began collecting trash, as our leisurely afternoon reef dive had quickly turned into an underwater cleanup, which unfortunately happens all too often. 

I had educated the passengers and crew on the trip about Mona’s mission to remove plastic pollution from the sea and create sustainable and eco-friendly activewear, and now they were witnessing firsthand just how significant this solution is. 

It was the perfect opportunity to raise awareness for the plastic crisis in the ocean, while wearing Mona gear to show support of a movement that is actively working towards a cleaner, healthier ocean. 

Every person has the ability to participate in the efforts of improving the health of the environment. It all begins with education, awareness, and passion. 

Written by @sharkdiver_kaitlyn

Photography by @ryanwaltonofficial and @bellaboxer07

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