Sunday, December 4th marked our last Blue’Aina of the year and in staying with tradition this was our annual trip to Lana’i. The Corporate Sponsor was Wailea Community Association who donated to the American Reef Association. The food was sponsored by Cheeseburger Grille and Tap Room.
The overcast and rainy weather did not dissuade 50 volunteers from boarding TRILOGY I and heading out across the channel to Manele Bay. On the journey over to Lana’i, we were lucky to encounter a pod of spinner dolphins. Trilogy Excursions is a Dolphin SMART certified company meaning we do not harass the dolphins or interfere with their natural behavior. Being the curious creatures dolphins are they came over to check the boat out, giving our volunteers an up close look.
Upon arrival to the island, we set out to conduct a land-based cleanup of Manele Harbor and Hulupoe Bay. We found bags of trash spread all throughout the spiky keawe trees. Our volunteers braved the long thorns and dove right into the trees to get the trash before it made its way to the ocean.
After doing our part for the 'aina we got back on board TRILOGY I and headed outside of the harbor for our water based reef cleanup. Our volunteers filled their hungry bellies with baked goods, Delicious sandwiches, and salad from Cheeseburger Grille and Tap Room. Cheeseburger Grille and its employees are a great addition to our Blue’Aina 'ohana and we were pleased to have a handful of them out on the boat helping us clean the reef. Wailea Community Association has been making donations to the American Reef Association for years and they are both long-term supporters of the Blue’Aina program. The Wailea Community Association has a strong positive reputation supporting the community by making donations to the Maui Food Bank and hosting Holiday Food Drives among other things.
The mission of the American Reef Association is to protect marine resources, wilderness and natural areas through a variety of proven methods and by providing support to other nonprofit organizations and government agencies engaged in marine, wilderness and natural area research, conservation, and education. Their vision is to form strategic alliances with the public, other organizations and government agencies involved in marine, natural area, and wilderness conservation and to deliver a greater benefit and value to the government, our partners, and the general public. Here is a list of some of the things they do in the community:
· Remove derelict fishing gear and marine debris
· Trail maintenance
· Invasive species removal
· Coral reef monitoring
· Coral transplant, reef restoration, and enhancement
· Provide education, awareness, and outreach
Check out their website for more information and ways to get involved.
Trilogy is busy gearing up for the Blue’Aina 2017 year. Look for our most updated newsletter coming to your inbox soon with all the details.
By Conservation and Education Director, Magen Schifiliti