Guinness Book of World Records - The Longest Underwater Cleanup

30 April 2013

*So this is a little overdue for various reasons. =(

How many of us can say we've been a part of a record-setting, especially one in the Guinness Book of Records? Well, I'm proud to say that I have, even though it was just a small part! =D

On the 5th of May, I got to meet the organisers and some of the fellow volunteers whom I'd be working with throughout the week, and it was pretty obvious everyone was hyped and ready to have a good time while achieving this amazing feat, which as Guinness World Records agrees - is now Officially Amazing!
Can you spot me..?
We were fully supplied in the secretariat, thanks to the people who never seemed to take a break! =)
Getting the 2nd shift, I wasnt there for the launch of the event, but fortunately I was there for the end! Rotating 8 hour shifts between us 3 data entry girls was tough on our sleeping schedule, but the organisers and boat crew had 0 sleep for the first 24 hours, n not much after that either! In fact, because of the tough shifts (we sometimes started at 4.30am n finished at noon; sometimes 10.45pm all the way til dawn), most of us and the official witnesses (who were always on duty and on standby in pairs to help the official adjudicator in making sure the record was running as planned) had trouble sleeping the first few days - some days we were running on 2 hours sleep a day!
Afternoon shift with witness Harry!
Dawn shift with organiser Eric
Dusk shift with Crazy Captain James Sparrow!
Graveyard shift with Marc and Danielle
But I'm getting ahead of myself, aren't I? What exactly is this record we set, and what did we do?

Well, to make it easier:
Organised by Astro Kasih
168 consecutive hours - this is the last batch of divers getting ready to get on their boat!
134 local and international volunteer divers
1120 dives
3099kg of rubbish gathered from the seabed...
 ...of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park here in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah!
To qualify for the World Record, divers were required to dive consecutively in teams, with at least one diver actively collecting waste from the water throughout the full duration of the attempt. If no divers were submerged for even just one second, the record would have been called off! That's how tight everything had to run, with the boat crew not stepping foot on land for the entire duration of the event!
The divers went out to their dive locations on these boats...
...and brought all the rubbish they collected back to the base boat to be weighed and separated...
...then all the data was cross-checked on CCTVs and witness forms by Kirsty, the GWR adjudicator from time to time!
A total of 1,560kg of plastics, 140kg of glass and ceramics, 318kg of metal and 357kg of rubber and cloth, were picked up during the attempt - a horrifying amount, considering we didnt even go near the water village, and according to some divers there was still enough rubbish to collect for another week at one of the islands! =O
What lies beneath......
Organiser Ken!
Resort on Gayana Island
Melissa and I
Love these 2 sisters! <3 br="">
Covered by Astro Kasih, Astro Ria and Discovery Channel, the whole experience was a fun one and definitely a once-in-a-lifetime journey! I got through most of it without the slightest bit of seasickness, but the graveyard shifts got the best of me and twice I went green at 3am! On the flip side, I did get to see some rare things like this Blue-Ring Octopus:
The blue-ringed octopus' venom is powerful enough to kill humans. No blue-ringed octopus antivenom is available.
This was actually a really scary find, and we're lucky no one got bitten! It came up with someone's trash, and the team's dive leader was smart enough to recognise it and make sure no one touched it. The blue-ringed octopus is actually one of the deadliest creatures on earth, and apparently not easy to find so it was quite a surprise!
Cruise Ship and Submarine
Rare find: Pole-dancing Jon
Captain James Sparrow!
The weather was mostly good to us, but there were a few times where the wind was crazy rough, and another morning with perfect blue skies, but deadly currents! That was a bit of an adventure, with so many things happening at once we didnt know where to turn! The steering of a dive boat broke down, the base boat and rest boat couldnt stay together, ropes wrapped around both engines, and a certain crazy captain was screaming all around the boat! ;p But we somehow overcame everything and managed to keep within our timeframe! It was also worth it all in the end when we got to witness a beautiful sunrise over Mount Kinabalu, which stayed visible til past noon the last day of the record attempt:
It was also the first real time I got to test out my new Samsung Galaxy camera, and I must say, I am pretty impressed with it so far! All the photos (and videos) were taken with this camera and as you can see the clarity of the photos is pretty awesome! The zoom especially is something I'd definitely recommend, with it being able to zoom 21x to take a perfect picture of the words on the side of a boat our naked eyes couldnt even make out!
Celebrating on the upper deck when the last diver emerged from the water!
Victory trip back to shore with Danielle! Mt K in the background!
I met a LOT of amazing people on this project, and the after party was so much fun!
Charlotte Fong, reporting for Breeze Magazine
This group picture took about 5 shots before everyone decided to look in the direction of the camera at the same time!
Michael from Canada - Witness!
Fellow data entry volunteer Vianny! Unfortunately Sheryl had to fly back to Sandakan the same night so couldnt join the party.. =(
The Twin Towers!
Breeze mag ambassador Katy and host of the night Ean from Hitz fm
Local host of the evening Cassie from Hitz KK
The craziest diver of the whole 134 involved - Gee Soon
The Rain(coat)maker - Joseph
Idris, host for Astro Ria
I'm so glad I got to be a part of this project, and look forward to seeing what's next for our oceans! And for us of course - when's the next meetup guys? ;p

You can also check out my Vlog that I did before this post HERE, and as usual you can always like my facebook page HERE and follow my Instagram (ID: CalistaLeahLiew) for realtime updates! =)



  1. Calista! Hey, you might not know that I'm currently pursuing my Ph.D in tourism and my research target place is Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. I am working on it but also trying to gather up a group of respondents. Would you agree to be interviewed by me in the future (and that would mean probably next year)?

    I am here to learn about the concerns and feelings people have for it and the research could be used for development of the park.

    This is my email: or you can reach me by Facebook.
    Say YES and I'm a happy lady! Thank you =)

    1. Hey Paulin! Thanks for the comment and sure I'd love to be interviewed for your research! Anything to help the development of KK! =D I'll drop you an email now!

  2. Quite a feat, Calista... and all for a good cause too. Well done indeed. I really like the pictures. Who sponsored the event by the way?
    Visit my blog:

    1. Thanks Vincent! Astro Kasih was the sponsor as far as I know.. =)