January '13 Trilogy Blue'aina Reef Cleanup
Trilogy’s “Blue’aina” program is a conduit connecting our ocean community with environmentally concerned companies and conservation groups. Through this unity we directly clean reefs and beaches, conduct citizen science, and support likeminded nonprofits through action, education, and outreach. For more information on the program you can visit the Blue'aina page here on the Trilogy blog.
Our 2013 Blue'aina calendar got off to a great start on a sunny, but blustery, January day. Although we originally intended to head for the shores off of Makena, the 50 knot winds which buffeted Ma'alaea Bay forced us to tuck into a lee shore off of the pali at the dive site known as Drain Pipes.
Although this spot is difficult to access by land, Drain Pipes has nevertheless proven to be a gathering spot for debris that falls from the cliffs above, particularly rusty old cars. With a full boat of 65 volunteers scouring the reef and shoreline, half the participants pulled debris from the reef while the other half took to cleaning the shoreline. This old, rusting, vehicle provided the volunteers with ample opportunities for filling up their trash bags, and larger pieces of the vehicle such as tires and fenders were transported back to the boat by way of lifeguards and surfboards. This is the second time we have pulled pieces from this car, and hopefully on our third attempt we can remove the rust bucket in its entirety. In the photo above, you can make out the rusting car along the shoreline with Trilogy II in the background, while Trilogy crewmember Karen consolidates the debris on the starboard bow and trampoline.
Meanwhile, while en route to Drain Pipes, we were given the chance to listen to Keoni from 3D Builders and Keoni's Electric talk to the crowd about the benefits of solar energy systems. As co-sponsors of the event, the two companies were able to raise close to $1000 for our non-profit recipient, Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Research (HAMER), whose representative, Dr. Mark Deakos, later spoke to the crowd about manta ray research and the health of our manta populations here in the islands. In the photo on the right, Trilogy volunteer Isaac collects a piece of styrofoam we found floating off of McGregor Point while en route to the dive site.
Once at the dive site, REEF divers placed on the scuba gear to conduct fish count studies and snorkelers hit the waters with mesh bags in hand to clear the shallow areas of debris where the strong winds had blown trash into the water.
Back on board, passengers were treated to a tasty BBQ lunch donated by Beach Bums BBQ in Ma'alaea, and while the volunteers dined, the Trilogy crew deployed the manta trawl behind the boat to collect data for a study on microplastics being conducted by Trilogy and Algalita Marine Research Institute. During the 30-minute trawl, the boat maintains a constant speed of around 2.5 knots over calm water, and as the sea water passes through a filter on the end of the manta device any plastics, plankton, or microorganisms will be collected in the sieve.
During the trawl Dr. Mark Deakos of HAMER gave his presentation to our group of volunteers, and the suntanned and successful group of volunteers gradually eased their way back in to blustery Ma'alaea Harbor.
Our January event was a great way to kick off our 2013 calendar of cleanups, and as Trilogy's Blue'aina program moves into it's 3rd year of existence we hope to continue to grow the program and serve as a catalyst for connecting island businesses with worthwhile, environmentally-minded non profits. A big mahalo to all of our sponsors and volunteers, and anyone interested in participating in our bi-weekly cleanups can find the signup instructions on our main website at sailtrilogy.com/blue.