Blue'Aina with Hawaiian Wildlife Fund & Fairmont Kea Lani
Every year, Earth Day on Maui is a pretty big event, with so many of the residents being active year-round in initiatives that are aimed to preserve and protect this gorgeous island. So it’s no wonder that Earth Day here is host to literally dozens of trash cleanups and nature conservation events that take place from the South, North, East and West sides of the island. Always wanting to malama the 'aina, Trilogy Excursions has been a long time participant in Earth Day events, and for the last 5 years, the Fairmont Kea Lani has personally requested an Earth Day Blue’Aina. This year marks their 6th time as the generous sponsors of this special trip, choosing to donate for the 3rd year in a row to the non-profit Hawaii Wildlife Fund.
photo credit: visualitineraries.com
The Fairmont Kea Lani is a leading travel provider, who is committed to preserving the places where our guests and colleagues work, live and play. In 2016, they partnered with the Hawaii Wildlife Fund, conducting sea turtle surveys along the beaches fronting the hotel. They are aware of the environmental impacts their business can make and are taking proactive steps to reduce their carbon output (and to ultimately help mitigate the effects of global warming). We love this mission! The incorporation of sustainable practices into all of their departmental operations has enabled them to reduce energy usage and minimize water waste, and they are diligent about monitoring their own environmental performance as a company. Check out their website for more info on their sustainable initiatives!
So on April 22nd, with 57 total volunteers, including a large showing from the generous employees at the Fairmont, we all set off on our Earth Day mission! Lucky for us, the weather finally cooperated (ugh, this RAINY winter we’ve been having… *shakes fist*), and we were able to sail to Mala Wharf for an underwater reef cleanup. We heard through the grapevine that the Banyan Tree Divers were actually conducting a land-based cleanup of the Mala area on this day as well (all the mahalos!), so we decided to jump on that volunteer train and dedicate the day to a full land-to-sea Mala event. Never disappointing us, Mala Wharf is one of our favorite spots for Blue‘Aina cleanups because of the handfuls of fishing line and other debris that we end up finding there. Once a fully functioning pier and shipping facility for the island's pineapple and agricultural exports, the dock at the wharf was destroyed in 1992 in a hurricane. The old dock pieces now lie along the ocean floor and serve as a beautiful “artificial” reef, full of tropical marine life.
After an hour in the water with our keen eyes peeled, our volunteers were able to collect numerous handfuls of fishing line, hooks, weights, and even some aluminum cans! We could tell that our volunteers were especially excited to give back to our tropical island on this special day, collecting harmful debris out of the coastal reefs and helping all those fishies just live their fishy life! Back onboard the boat, we all enjoyed a delicious lunch provided by Trilogy Excursions, and settled in to learn about the Hawaii Wildlife Fund’s history and mission.
The Hawaii Wildlife Fund (HWF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Hawaii's native wildlife through research, education, and advocacy. The HWF team is made up of educators, conservationists, researchers, naturalists, communities, volunteers and donors, who are all devoted to the protection of Hawaii's fragile marine ecosystem and inhabitants. They actively engage in the community through countless ongoing projects, including the Hawksbill Sea Turtle Recovery Project, HWF Honu Watch Project, Maui Marine Debris Removal, Makai Watch, and the Maui Reef Fund. During turtle nesting season, you will most likely see their volunteers walking along the beaches, looking for sea turtles enjoying a warm sunbathing session, and sharing facts and ecological history about these amazing, gentle creatures.
Unknowingly armed with some super speedy divers (and cleaners!) on our Earth Day trip, we had a bit of time to spare, so the Captain sailed the boat out into the Au’au channel to look for floating marine debris. During extended periods of south-blowing winds and swells, trash and giant net balls, or “ghost nets”, tend to float closer to Maui’s shores, creating hazardous conditions for fragile marine life and even the boats which depart from our many Harbors. Lucky for us, we didn’t find any that day, but we did find two (!!) the following day during excursion tours on both the Trilogy 3 and the Trilogy 6.
As a certified sustainable, eco-tourism operator, Trilogy is proud to partner with all of our Blue’Aina green sponsors and non-profits each month. While we are committed as a company to taking care of Maui mauka to makai every day, it is always heartwarming to see the entire Maui community coming together each year on Earth Day. Starting years ago as a grassroots movement to raise awareness about environmental pollution, Earth Day has now provided public support for the passing of several environmental laws, including the Water Quality Improvement Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Our next Blue’Aina is THIS Sunday, May 6th - we just can’t get enough! We hope to see you out on the water! Head over to the website for more details on how to sign up.