It was great to see so many familiar faces and excited new participants for our Blue'Aina trip on May 17th in Lahaina! We had 54 wonderful volunteers ready to help clean up our island and meet other like-minded folks in the community, and everyone was ready to enjoy a beautiful day and also give back. The volunteers got to work bright and early before we boarded, and removed at least 6 full bags of trash and would- be marine debris from around Lahaina Harbor. We cruised to a new site for many of us, Black Rock off Ka’anapali. Robin from NOAA started our day out with the right sentiment with an oli, and Captain Caleb made us all feel safe and comfortable with a safety briefing and breakdown of the day’s schedule. We all got introduced to one another as we snacked on a delicious breakfast provided generously by Cool Cat Café.
Everyone was excited to visit a different site, and so we decided it would be a good day, with favorable conditions, to head up to Black Rock and assess the reef and amount of marine debris there. Kelly talked about how we could make sure to leave the reef cleaner and healthier than we found it and how to safely remove fishing line from coral heads without doing damage, and Captain Caleb gave a snorkel site briefing to orient everyone and remind us of our goals. Once everyone was geared up with masks, fins and dive bags with dive shears, it was time to jump in and do our kuleana. Snorkelers kept a sharp lookout for trash in the water while also enjoying the good visibility and interesting wall structure, spotting eels, Moorish Idols and Hawaiian green sea turtles. Marine debris was not as prevalent here as some other sites, which is a great sign! Our eagle-eyed volunteers did still pick up bottles, paper debris, fishing line and hooks, and some corroded metal.
Once everyone was back on board, it was lunchtime, with tasty sandwiches and fruit supplied by Cool Cat Café. As everyone filled their bellies and chatted about their snorkel experience, we got a chance to learn more about Pink Paddlers, a non- profit that enhances the lives of cancer survivors by introducing them to outrigger canoeing. Danny Boren from Skyline Eco- Adventures, the corporate sponsor of the trip, presented Mana’olana Pink Paddlers with a donation of $1000. He told us a bit about Skyline Eco-Adventure’s history, location, ziplines and adventures offered, and how dedicated they are as a business to giving to community and environmental efforts. Volunteers from NOAA had measured water chemistry, and they gave us a presentation on our sample results while we deployed the manta trawl to gather a plankton sample. We take a plankton sample every Blue’Aina trip to measure the amount of microplastics masquerading as plankton, and send our samples to Algalita Marine Lab in Long Beach, CA for important information from the middle of the Pacific Ocean on plastic debris in the base of the food chain.
Thanks again for joining us, supporting local non-profit efforts, and spending your Sunday helping to keep our reefs clean and beautiful! Our next Blue’Aina trip is on June 7th, leaving from Lahaina at 9 am. Bring your favorite water people! Tickets for the monthly reef cleanup are only $30 and are available for purchase through the Hawaii National Marine Sanctuary Foundation by either calling (808) 879-2818, x 239, or by emailing email@example.com.