Blue'Aina with Westin Nanea Ocean Villas
Fall season has arrived and our Blue’Aina sails are back in full swing. Last Sunday kicked off our first cleanup of the season with corporate sponsor, Westin Nanea Ocean Villas. Their $1,000 donation will support the Hawaii Wildlife Fund’s important mission to conserve and protect Hawaii's native wildlife.
It was a beautifully sunny day as our 60 volunteers boarded Trilogy’s new vessel, T4, and set our destination towards Olowalu. Olowalu Valley is the largest and deepest valley in the Kahalawai (West Maui Mountains). It has a rich cultural history and the reef boasts a wide diversity of marine life. For centuries the valley was home to ancient Hawaiians living in an Ahupua’a: a pie-shaped socio-economic division of land. Spreading mauka (mountain side) to makai (ocean side); this Ahupua’a was a sustainable section of land containing all the resources needed to survive. Fresh water flowed down the valley supplying taro fields, breadfruit, sweet potato, and coconut groves among others. Along the coast would have been a traditional fishing pond. The reef would have supplied the fish, crabs, lobsters, and other seafood. Hawaiians did not believe in the concept of land ownership but instead believed it their responsibility (kuleana) to take care of the land.
Nicknamed Maui’s “mother reef,” Olowalu is a unique reef system and offers some of the best snorkeling on Maui; There is always plenty to see. Oluwalu is home to coral heads hundreds of years old, a green sea turtle cleaning station, a black tip reef shark nursery, and the rare manta ray cleaning station. As a popular snorkel destination for boat and kayak companies on Maui, we do find small amounts of marine trash on the reef. Due to its large size covering over 100 acres of coastline, our volunteers spread out to cover as much of the area as we could in an hour. Our searching yielded an old snorkel and some rope. Back on board the boat, feeling satisfied with our cleanup efforts, we enjoyed lunch while hearing from the Westin Nanea Ocean Villas and the Hawaii Wildlife Fund.
The Westin Nanea has been in operation for three years, which is also the number of years they’ve supported Trilogy’s Blue’Aina trips. Situated on 16 acres of Maui's North Kā'anapali Beach, The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas provides a relaxing haven with culturally inspired programs and authentic Hawaiian experiences. The Westin Nanea truly exemplify their three core business pillars of culture, community, and sustainability. The Blue’Aina trips bring together 60 local community members on an eco-friendly catamaran trip, to malama Maui’s reefs.
“Malama” meaning to take care of. To protect. To preserve, maintain, or support.
Several Westin Nanea employees have joined us on all their sponsored Blue’Aina trips. It’s inspiring to find a company who actively gives back to the land and strives to be an environmentally aware business. Trilogy is proud to have the Westin Nanea as one of our core Blue’Aina Corporate Sponsors and we look forward to continued partnerships in 2020!
The Hawaii Wildlife Fund (HWF) is dedicated to the conservation of Hawaii's native wildlife through research, education and advocacy. They actively engage the community in research, education and conservation projects including the sea turtle nesting watch, honu watch, hawksbill recovery project, and marine debris removal. The honu watch program “protects basking green sea turtles (honu) by educating the community about the phenomenon called ‘basking’: a rare behavior in which turtles crawl ashore for reasons other than nesting. No other species of sea turtles are known to bask and the behavior has been documented only in Hawai'i and Australia. Basking turtles are common in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands but are seen on a more limited basis around the main Hawaiian Islands, which is where HWF's Honu Watchers help protect the turtles.”
Taking marine debris removal to exciting new levels, HWF recently acquired a microplastic removal machine. Called the Ho’ola One, this one of a kind machine sucks up sand and the microplastic in it and then filters it apart. Currently on the Big Island, HWF hopes to bring Ho’ola One to Maui in the near future.
HWF is also in the process of opening a new Hawaii Wildlife Discovery Center. Partnering with Whaler’s Village in Ka’anapali, this Discovery Center will offer visitors a chance to learn about Hawaii’s wildlife through interactive exhibits. Looking to open in 2020, Executive Director and HWF Co-founder Hannah Bernard states, “Our goal in developing the center is to provide information about the marine environment and to convey what we can all do to save the oceans.”
This month is International Coastal Cleanup month which include’s Lahaina’s annual Lahaina Town Cleanup. In support of International coastal cleanup month Trilogy is excited to announce a special second Blue’Aina cleanup this month this Saturday, September 14th with support from the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas and non-profit Maui Nui Marine Resource Council. We hope to see you there!
Written by Magen Schifiliti ~ Conservation & Education Director at Trilogy