On August 11th, a dedicated troupe of 48 ocean stewards departed Lahaina for Honolua Bay as part of the ongoing Trilogy Blue'Aina program. Sailing aboard Trilogy I, the goal of the morning was to clean up the reef before the large swells of winter begin arriving in September. Though the 7am departure was earlier than normal, breakfast provided by Cool Cat Cafe gradually energized the group of volunteers.
Considering the recent developments surrounding Honolua Bay—and the legislation concerning its future—West Maui Councilwoman Elle Cochrane joined in the sail and shared some of her experiences from protecting this natural resource. As a life long resident of Maui, she explained that historically there seemed to be something wrong with the proposals being presented by Maui Land and Pine concerning the future of Honolua Bay. The aspects of the plan which were thought to be most widely accepted were the only plans discussed in detail, and as Cochrane began to conduct her own research, she realized the full scope of changes which needed to be set in motion.
After speaking with fellow longtime residents of the Honolua Valley, Cochrane knew something needed to change. The planned gated community of 40 luxury homes did not sit well with many, and the Save Honolua Coalition took action. Finally, after years of petitioning and working to maintain this area, $20 million has now been set aside by the State to help preserve over 200 acres surrounding Lipoa Point. While definitely a hard-fought victory, the valley area is still vulnerable to development. Moving forward, a clear plan for Honolua’s future still needs to be determined. As Cochrane acknowledged, however, this is most certainly a step in the right direction.
On the day of the sail, unfortunately Maui had some unexpected rain in the days leading up to the clean up, which meant there was some run-off affecting the visibility. This is a natural part of the ever changing weather here in Maui, but the clean up still yielded some excellent results. While some volunteers focused on the shoreline, others scoured the reef in search of debris and trash. Once all was said and done, everything from broken surf board parts, camera wrappers, fishing line, and plastic debris was all recovered from the site.
In addition to raising awareness about the need to preserve Honolua, money was raised to benefit the Hawai’i Wildlife Fund. Cheryl King joined us on board to accept the $450 donation, and also to help explain the green sea turtle nesting projects that HWF is currently focused on. As part of the project which takes place during nesting season, HWF and their volunteers monitor nests around the clock to ensure the best possible conditions during the turtle's fragile birth. It's at truly noble effort towards protecting our island sea turtles that we are happy to support and feel blessed to be a part of.
As the boat pulled away from Honolua Bay, the crew once again deployed the manta trawl to collect a sample for microplastics research. Acting in partnership with Algalita Marine Research Institute, the samples will be analyzed to determine the level of microplastics in Maui's near shore waters. For lunch, passengers were able to enjoy pulled pork and beef sliders which were graciously provided by Cool Cat Cafe in Lahaina. Finally, as Kristen—the representative from the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Foundation—discussed the results of the water quality testing, everyone enjoyed a downwind sail down the coast towards Lahaina Harbor.
Looking forward, the next BlueʽAina will depart from Lahaina Harbor on September 1 and will be benefiting Ocean Defender Hawaii. Please contact the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation to sign up for the next outing, and as always, mahalo to the volunteers and recipients who continue to make BlueʽAina a success!