After the hot, muggy summer days we’ve been experiencing on Maui thanks to Tropical Depression Ela, it felt great to be out on the water last Sunday, July 12th, for our monthly Blue’ Aina Reef Clean up snorkel and sail. Volunteers showed up ready to go, collecting litter from Lahaina Harbor before boarding Trilogy 1 and departing towards our designated reef clean up site, Coral Gardens. We were excited to host Maui Huliau Foundation’s Environmental Leadership Camp on this clean up. These young men and women chose to spend their week learning about environmental initiatives and efforts on Maui, and are dining exclusively on locally grown foods. They were generous enough to share a blessing with us, and strummed on ukuleles as we cruised towards Coral Gardens, a snorkel site under the Pali Cliffs. Everyone got to know each other and fueled up on breakfast, fruit and coffee donated by Trilogy Excursions.
We chose the Coral Gardens site as it is a popular overnight fishing spot and crew on previous snorkel trips there had spotted monofilament fishing line, hooks and sinkers tangled around the reef.
Captain Katie gave a site and snorkel clean up briefing, and Kelly told everyone of what animals they should keep their eyes out for while doing their kokua and cleaning the reef of fishing debris. It was a beautiful day for a snorkel and our talented free divers picked up and removed long lengths of monofilament fishing line and other fishing debris. This is especially important to remove from coral reefs, as monofilament can easily entangle and endanger many marine animals that call the reef their home, from fish, to manta rays, to marine mammals.
As we sailed back to our home port of Lahaina, we learned all about Chrysalis Events from Taylor, and she also told everyone about the other community support efforts that Chrysalis Events undertakes. She presented a check fro $1000 to Hawai’i Ecotourism Association. Then, Liz Foote from the non- profit recipient, Hawaii Ecotourism Association, told us all about HEA. It is a non- profit organization that promotes responsible travel and educational programs relating to sustainable tourism. They provide communication and information about community-based visitor businesses that are environmentally sensitive and culturally accurate. Check out http://www.hawaiiecotourism.org/TravelPono to learn about how to become certified as a sustainable tourism operator.
Our reward for our ocean stewardship was waiting for us at the dock as we returned: hot and fresh pizzas for lunch generously donated by Prison Street Pizza! Their delicious, Jersey style pepperoni and cheese pizzas hit the spot after our morning of snorkeling.
Want to make a difference for the coral reefs of Maui? Sign up for our next reef clean up on August 16th by calling 408-569-7986 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Does your business or restaurant want to support taking care of the oceans? Email Kelly.email@example.com to become a sponsor of our Blue ‘Aina campaign. Mahalo for your support, and we'll see you next month.