It was a busy morning on November 1st in Lahaina. We had 45 energetic and motivated volunteers passionate about ocean and island conservation, and ready for a day of fun out on the water, even after celebrating a fun Lahaina Halloween the night before!
The volunteers took care of a Lahaina harbor clean up bright and early before we boarded, making sure to stop marine debris before it even gets a chance to enter the water. Since the water was calm and conditions were excellent, we were able to cruise all the way over to Coral Gardens off the Pali to search for marine debris from fishing activity that often happens over there. As we cruised, we got an introduction to each other, a safety briefing from Captain Katie, and a tasty energy boost from hot mugs of coffee generously donated by Starbuck’s Cannery Mall and awesome homemade pumpkin bread from Lynnette Poncin and an assortment of pastries donated by the Hawai’i National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. Our corporate sponsor of the trip, DeSilva Meeting Consultants, brought some dedicated freedivers out on the trip who were ready to clean the reef!
It was an ideal day to do our underwater reef clean up at Coral Gardens- good visibility, not too much swell, and we had lots of watermen and women on board ready to do some free-diving in search of fishing line and sinkers wrapped around the reef. Kelly, our Marine Conservation and Education Director, gave us all some good pointers on how to make sure to leave the reef cleaner and healthier than we found it and how to safely remove fishing line from coral heads with our scissors and clean up gear. Once everyone was geared up, the snorkel site was open and we had our ocean stewards doing their kuleana. We also enjoyed the clear water and marine life around Coral Gardens as we searched for marine debris.
Our volunteers had a good haul- lots of old looking monofilament and fishing lures. It’s especially important to get that fishing line off the reef as entanglement is a primary threat to many marine animals, including whales.
Once everyone was back on board, we were ready to enjoy a lunch donated by the Foundation, consisting of an elaborate make- your- own sandwich bar, chips and salsa, an awesome pasta salad made by Michelle Griffoul, and tasty homemade cookies donated by Jeep Dunning. After lunch an dessert we enjoyed an ‘oli from Ka’au Abraham and got a chance to learn all about the nonprofit recipient of the trip, the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
Josh from DeSilva Meeting Consultants then told us all about their business, the event and activity planning they offer and what motivates them to be an environmentally responsible business. Volunteers from NOAA had measured water chemistry and reported their findings to the group. The coral bleaching (due to El Niño and climate change increasing sea temperatures- learn more on our guest blog post) was still occurring, unfortunately, so some of our volunteers made observations and filled out Eyes of the Reef reports. Kelly told everyone how they can help collect this data and share it with Division of Aquatic Resources to advise resource management.
Want to help make a difference for our reefs and coastline here on Maui? Join our upcoming special event fundraiser- a Sunset Sail and Cocktail Cruise on Saturday, November 14th, benefitting the Save Honolua Coalition! The evening will include chef created appetizers, top shelf cocktails, a silent auction and a beautiful Maui sunset, aboard Trilogy Elua. Tickets are $80 per person, with all proceeds donated to Save Honolua Coalition and their efforts to provide restroom facilities to clean up Honolua Bay. Call now to make your reservation- 808-661-4743, extension 3. Ask for the “Save Honolua Fundraiser”.
Our next Blue’Aina is on December 6th, with check in at 6:30 am at the main loading dock in Lahaina Harbor. This last Blue’Aina of the year is a special one, sailing to Manele Bay on Lana’i, and doing a harbor cleanup and reef cleanup there. Our corporate sponsor of the event is Wailea Community Association, and the nonprofit recipient is American Reef Coalition. Hope to see you there!