Besides the usual old bottles and cans, divers at the cleanup in Brohm Lake this weekend turned up something unusual: a camera.
After they brought the GoPro camera to the surface, they were able to access the camera data to see if they could solve the mystery of who had lost the item.
“We plugged it in, downloaded the photos and contacted the owners,” said Henry Wang, one of the organizers from Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans.
The real clue was in the last photo taken before the camera ended up in the lake. The image showed a girl cliff-jumping into the water before the camera slipped out of her hand and into the murky depths.
“It’s kind of a neat story,” Wang said.
The team was even able to determine that the camera battery ran for another 34 minutes before it died at Brohm Lake six years ago.
They posted online that they had found the camera, and very soon after, they made contact with the original owner, who is supposed to pick up the camera this week.
“I was surprised how short a time it took,” Wang said.
Unlike the camera, most of the other items in the lake did not likely slip out of anyone’s hand. Throughout the morning, the divers dragged countless old bottles and cans out of the lake, many decayed past the point where they could be recycled. The cleanup also turned up a giant tent, lawn chairs and golf balls among the garbage.
“We sort it as much as we can,” Wang said.
They try to recycle materials, but much of it still has to go to the dump, often in old donated onion bags that are perfect for gathering the items.
This Saturday marked the second year that Divers for Clean Lakes and Oceans held a cleanup at the lake. At the first event almost a year ago, the water was too cold for the divers to stay in longer than 20 minutes.
“This time, we went a little more prepared,” said Wang, who was able to dive for about 45 minutes.
On Saturday, they will be back in the area for another cleanup, this time at Alice Lake.
The divers are volunteers but have plenty of experience under the water. “Most of the divers have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours of dives,” Wang said.
The organization has done 46 dives over the past few years at a number of sites throughout the region, including Porteau Cove, as far north as the Whistler area and as far east as Chilliwack Lake.
Through their efforts, they have removed more than 7,000 kilograms of garbage.
“We’ve been cleaning anything that’s within a reasonable driving distance,” Wang said.
For more information about the organization, see www.cleanerlakes.com.