On a calm, sunny July morning, another sold out boat of BlueʽAina ocean stewards boarded Trilogy I in Lahaina Harbor for a morning of environmental awareness. A light breakfast was provided as we motored north for 20 minutes, and with blue skies around us and cirrus clouds above, our group of 45 passengers were treated to calm, clear views of Moloka'i which were more reminiscent of winter than summer.
Securing a mooring between Kaʽanapali Beach Hotel and the Sheraton Maui, the reef cleaning team scoured a shoreline which is usually notorious for marine debris that has blown into the water from the neighboring resorts. On this particular day, however, the area was encouragingly free of marine plastics (cups, hair ties, plastic room keys, and floating beach toys being the usual culprits), and while the dozens of volunteers returned to the boat, the keiki cooled off from the hot summer day by repeatedly jumping off the bow.
With hot dogs on the grill and a light breeze behind us, we pulled off the mooring and listened to Robyn Walters of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary deliver the results of the water quality tests that are performed on each BlueʽAina sail. In addition to welcoming the sanctuary volunteers aboard to collect water quality samples, $5 of every ticket price goes towards the Hawaii National Marine Sanctuary Foundation for ongoing preservation and research. With 45 paying guests on board the sail, Trilogy was able to raise $225 for this worthy organization.
Also giving a short talk was Trilogy crew member Katie, who shared some eye-opening facts on marine plastics as a representative for Algalita Marine Research Institute, a California-based non-profit who Trilogy has partnered with for 2013 to test for microplastics in nearshore Hawaiian waters.
Here are just a few of the facts presented to those who were on board the sail:
- 331 millionbarrels of petroleum and natural gas are used to make plastics each year, which is equal to 5% of the national consumption.
- 54% of 120 marine mammal species on the threatened list have been observed entangled in or ingesting plastics.
- Americans use roughly 100 billion plastic bags per year, and plastic bags can take 400-1,000 years to decompose, though the toxic chemical residues remain long after (and are also ingested by fish which we then eat!)
In addition to raising awareness about the issue of marine plastics, Trilogy was able to raise $500 for the team at Algalita, and the money will go towards costs associated with analyzing the samples which are taken on each BlueʽAina sail.
For more information on our BlueʽAina happenings you can stay in touch by following us on our Trilogy BlueʽAina Facebook page, dropping us a line on Twitter, or joining our BlueʽAina mailing list for periodic updates in your inbox.
Mahalo to all of our ocean stewards and volunteers, and we look forward to seeing everyone for our next BlueʽAina sail on August 11th, out of Lahaina Harbor, where we will be sailing to Honolua Bay and raising money for the Maui Surf Groms!
A hui hou!