Our last Blue’Aina reef cleanup of the year was a special event- it was our one Lana’i cleanup of the year and it was a full day of snorkeling, trash pick up and sailing! The event’s corporate sponsor was Wailea Resort Association, who generously donated $1000 to the nonprofit American Reef Coalition. We all met at the crack of dawn in Lahaina Harbor and enjoyed coffee, fruit and muffins provided by Trilogy Excursions while we watched the sun rise over Haleakala. As we sailed over to Manele Bay on Lana’i, we spotted some of the first whales of the season, tail slapping and pec slapping in the warm Maui waters.
We tied up to a mooring in Manele Bay and Kelly gave a quick orientation talk about how to remove marine debris without hurting the coral. Our dedicated volunteers snorkeled with their dive shears and mesh bags, and were able to remove yards and yards of fishing line as well as sinkers, hooks, soda cans, and even a sock from the reef. They also spotted a sea turtle named Esteban, lots of reef fish, and even some ulua who were chasing a school of bigeye scad!
When everyone was back on board Trilogy 1, Captain Jason then docked the boat in Manele Harbor and everyone geared up to tackle conducting a harbor clean up around Manele Harbor, clearing 10+ bags of trash in only 25 minutes! It was good to see all of the debris removed from the harbor area, and our volunteers’ efforts will keep the bay much cleaner. Everyone then strolled up to the Trilogy “hale” to have a tasty lunch of turkey sliders, fried rice, green salad and pasta salad donated by Trilogy Excursions and served by our crew. After taking a group photo, we heard a presentation by Terry Hunt from American Reef Coalition-a group dedicated to removing marine debris from remote coastlines in Hawai’i. It was a real eye opener to see how much debris they had cleared from just one morning of work from the north side of Lana’i.
On our trip back to Lahaina, the crew deployed our plankton trawl, sampling the amount of plankton found (a good sign for the oceans) vs. the amount of microplastics in the water (a bad thing). While this sample was being taken, Flo, our water quality volunteer from NOAA, talked to the group about the water chemistry of the samples taken in Manele Bay. Our samples showed that salinity was slightly lower than around Maui, and that water temperatures are slowly falling- the average nearshore temperature was 80 degrees, which is still above average but much better than the 86+ degree water that was being recorded in October!
It was a great way to wrap up our year of Blue ‘Aina cleanups in 2015- we had 15 reef cleanups in 2015, and $15,000 was donated to various Maui nonprofits! It’s pretty amazing what good can happen when ocean stewards and environmentally minded local businesses work together. A huge mahalo goes out to everyone who was involved in the Blue’Aina Campaign this year- whether it was as corporate sponsor, food sponsor, nonprofit recipient, reef cleanup volunteer, or Trilogy crew! On another note for the Blue’Aina Campaign, Trilogy’s Marine Conservation and Education Director, Kelly Montenero, is sad to announce that she’ll be leaving her post of coordinating Blue’Aina to accept a job as Coral Management Fellow with NOAA, in Miami, Florida. She is grateful to have had the chance to meet and be inspired by all of you, and will miss everyone!
Our next Blue’Aina sail is Sunday January 10th. Trip departs from main loading dock in Lahaina Harbor, check in at 8:30 am, return around 12:30 pm. The Corporate sponsor will be Joe Pluta Realty. Food sponsor is TBA and the Non- Profit Recipient will be the West Maui Improvement Foundation. Tickets for the monthly reef cleanup are only $30 and are available for purchase through the Hawaii National Marine Sanctuary Foundation by either calling 408-569-7986, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Know of a community and environmentally minded business or restaurant interested in getting involved in our reef clean up campaign? Email email@example.com for more info.