What better way to celebrate World Oceans Day than join our Blue ‘Aina campaign for a day on the water, snorkeling and cleaning up the big blue? We had 46 dedicated individuals join us for our last Blue ‘Aina reef clean up on June 7th. Before even getting onboard, our ocean stewards got to it and removed 5 bags of trash from the Lahaina Harbor, stopping marine debris and plastics in their tracks and protecting our reefs.
It was a special treat for the Blue ‘Aina community to have Captain Katie driving our trip, as many of our volunteers have missed her, and she was excited to do her kokua for the oceans on World Oceans Day as well.
The last clean up happened after a historically large south swell hit the southwest shore of Maui, bringing lots of debris in and causing some damage to boats and to the shoreline. So, we decided to head up to Mala Ramp, where there was plenty of marine debris to pick up, and where it had also cleared up enough to enjoy the diverse marine life that can be found there. We were also lucky enough to be able to squeeze in a second snorkel at Baby Beach off Lahaina, thanks to Captain Katie.
Our excellent free divers and eagle- eyed trash spotters cleared at least 3 bags of trash from our two snorkel sites. We found a fair amount of fiberglass from damaged boats due to the south swell, parts of a shopping cart, lots of monofilament fishing line, plastic straws and even some underwear that had been in the ocean for quite a while! Our snorkelers also got to enjoy seeing Hawaiian green sea turtles, white tipped reef sharks, and beautiful 70-80% coral cover at Baby Beach, while they did their part to take care of our oceans that regulate our weather, give us food, shoreline protection, provide a habitat for so many amazing animals and are a huge part of the water cycle!
Both on the way to our first snorkel site and after our second snorkel, everyone noshed on tasty food donated by our wonderful food sponsors, Captain Jack’s Island Grill. Everyone’s favorite was the homemade chips and salsa- we couldn’t stop talking about how good they were!
After lunch, the crew deployed the manta trawl to take a plankton sample and assess the amount of microplastics in the water column, in partnership with Algalita Marine Lab. During this time, we learned about the important work that our non- profit recipient West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership, does.
All in all, it was a great way to celebrate World Oceans Day in some of our favorite places, with some great people. Mahalo to all for your kokua!
Want to join in? Our next Blue ‘Aina reef clean up trip is July 12th checking in at 8:30am in Lahaina Harbor. Sign up by firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 408-569-7986 (new number!)