As many kamaʽaina are aware, the rocky coastline along the pali of West Maui is a popular spot with fishermen. Unfortunately, this also means that spools of line and dozens of hooks get wrapped around the reef. Luckily, the BlueʽAina team was recently in action to remove much of the debris.
Setting sail from Maʽalaea Harbor with a sold out boat of 60 people, the stiff tradewinds allowed for a morning sail past Maʽalaea and McGregor Point. With freshly-brewed coffee and warm cinnamon rolls provided by Island Catering, the crew fueled up for a vigorous session of free diving and cleaning the reef.
Tying to moorings in a bay along the pali, it wasn't long before our divers and snorkelers started returning to the boat with debris. Tires, hooks, line, and bottles were all pulled from the reef, and a Trilogy crewmember, Ben, managed to make his way back to the boat with an entire tackle box wrapped around his arm...
As is the case with reef cleanups, however, the disappointment of finding debris is also matched the beauty of the ocean. Midway through the cleanup, a lone green sea turtle emerged from his cave and swam into the wide open blue. We were also treated to large schools of reef fish, a couple of lobsters, as well as a massive conch which was slowly shuffling over the colorful stands of coral.
As for the fishing line, between the efforts of our 60 volunteers, we were able to collect an enormous amount of line which was previously wrapped around sensitive coral heads. In a 2008 article by Conservation Magazine, research in the Hawaiian Islands has shown that areas with large amount of discarded monofilament fishing line have twice as many damaged coral heads as areas which aren't fished from shore.
With dozens of coral heads now free of fishing line, the crew enjoyed a filling lunch which was donated by Island Catering. On the motor back towards Maʽalaea Harbor, Amanda—a graduate student and volunteer for the non-profit group Eyes of the Reef—gave a talk on the bow of the boat about the effects of coral disease. She discussed the perils of coral bleaching and threats facing island reefs, and also the way that Maui residents can be educated in recognizing coral bleaching. For more information on how to become involved, or for information on our corals, check out the website at Eyes of the Reef for ways that you can help.
In addition to talking about the health of the reef, Amanda was also in town to receive a $1,000 check for Eyes of the Reef which was generously donated by the Westin Resorts. The money was donated as a partnership between the Helani Spa at Westin Kaʽanapali Ocean Resort Villas, and the Heavenly Spa at the Westin Maui, and 15 Westin staff members were also on board for the sail. A huge mahalo to the Westin Resorts for helping to protect our reefs!
As the Trilogy BlueʽAina program continues to grow and continues to become more popular, we're humbled to have the chance to make a difference in our community and protect our local environment. Mahalo nui loa to all of our volunteers and our generous supporters, and we look forward to seeing everyone on future cleanups and events. To stay in touch with BlueʽAina updates, be sure to follow BlueʽAina on Facebook, and you can also sign up for our BlueʽAina newsletter for monthly updates and reports.
Mahalo, and a hui hou!