Marine debris is a problem that just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Fortunately, there are people that are willing to do something about it. As a part of International Coastal Cleanup, the Blue ‘Aina Campaign hosted an underwater reef clean up at Mala Wharf on Sunday, September 20th, with 60 volunteers.
The ocean minded volunteers started their day with a harbor clean up in Lahaina, preventing marine debris before it starts. Then, everyone boarded Trilogy 1 and sailed to Mala Wharf, where volunteers hopped in the water to spot and carefully remove marine debris from the reef and help with water quality sampling. Our water quality expert volunteer, Raul from the Sanctuary, analyzed the results and explained to our group that we had found high turbidity and low salinity conditions on this snorkel. We recorded data on all of the marine debris collected in order to report back to International Coastal Cleanup.
Due to the strong El Niño weather patterns this year, Hawai’i coral are experiencing extreme bleaching due to the warm water temperatures. Blue ‘Aina participants also surveyed the bleaching and reported their observations to the Division of Aquatic Resources’ Eyes of the Reef program.
Participants enjoyed a breakfast of coffee and muffins and a lunch of Kalua pork sandwiches and mac salad, all generously donated by Maui Brewing Company. Everyone enjoyed lunch on the water while hearing a presentation from the community nonprofit benefitting from the funds raised, Malama Kai Foundation. Trilogy donated $1000 to Malama Kai to support their work in maintaining Maui’s mooring system and creating future ocean stewards. While listening to presentations, crew deployed and towed a plankton trawl to sample microplastics in the water, in partnership with Algalita Marine Research. Said one participant, “[Blue ‘Aina] felt like snorkeling with a mission- which didn’t get the way of the fun.”
Join a Blue ‘Aina Reef Cleanup to make a difference and enjoy our beautiful island while learning, giving back to the community, and helping our oceans. The next event is October 4th, 8:30-12:30pm, sailing from Lahaina Harbor. $30 donation per person. Advance reservations are a must, as these popular “voluntourism” trips do sell out quickly: 408-569-7986, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.