May 19, 2013 Blue'Aina Reef Cleanup

May 19th presented more excitement as Trilogy continues to offer the Blue'aina sail on the first and third Sunday of each month.  With the large south swell that has been hitting Maui for the last week, it was a tough call to make, but a reef clean up was not possible.  The rough conditions and low visibility would have made for dangerous circumstances.  Instead, volunteers spent an hour cleaning up trash around Ma'alaea Harbor. 

They were geared up with collection bags, gloves, and delicious coffee and muffins provided by our food sponsor, Fabiani's Bakery and Pizzeria of Kihei.  Despite wanting to get into the water, the amount of trash that was returned made everyone realize the importance of focusing on the harbor. 

Ma'alaea harbor is a location for dry dock, when boat owners and operators pull their boats out of the water and do maintenance work that cannot be done in the water.  This leaves behind a lot of trash, especially combined with the wind that the harbor is notorious for. There is also a storm drain that empties in the northeastern corner, where large chains, tires, and various types of rubber tubing was found.

After bringing back bag after bag back to the boat, the rubbish was consolidated and sorted.  The result was impressive: 5 gallon bucket of cigarette butts, 5 gallon bucket of plastics, trash can full of paper and cloth products, trash can full of miscellaneous trash, and 5 gallon bucket of cans and bottles.  The quantity of cigarette butts that turned up was certainly the largest point of discussion following the cleanup. 

Several ideas were proposed to find a preventative solution to this seemingly endless amount of butts.  Trilogy will be drafting up some of these ideas and proposing them to the Ma'alaea harbor... stay tuned.  The greatest "food for thought" moment came when we discussed how if there is this much trash in the harbor, imagine how much has blown into the water just outside.  What we leave on land, will inevitably affect our oceans. 

Once the clean up concluded, volunteers boarded Trilogy V, and we headed south.  After some discussion, and seeing how badly volunteers wanted to cool off, Captain Yoshi made the executive decision to do a blue water swim.  Occasionally, on nice days, with little to no wind, we are able to drop passengers in the deeper water to enjoy what our island has to offer, so we dropped the ladder and had some fun! 

As the 40 volunteers filed back onto the boat, we got the manta ready to drag.  The manta, an aluminum wing with an attached sock strainer that Trilogy has uses in conjunction with Algalita Marine Research Institute, drags behind the boat for 30 minutes.  We document the starting and ending location, and consolidate the contents into a container to be sent off and analyzed in California.  Using this method, we can better assess the water quality and amount of plastics suspended around our island. 

While the manta drag took place, our non-profit recipient Monica George of the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust presented to the volunteers.  She informed them of HILT's mission "To protect the lands that sustain us for current and future generations". HILT is responsible for conserving over 11,000 acres of Maui land that ranges from marine shorelines, cultural sites, native inland habitats, and educational resources. 


She introduced volunteers to the idea of protecting these special areas and how to initiate that process.  Monica also informed the passengers of HILT's new membership program that offers a variety of donation levels that give back to the protected lands around all of our islands.

Once presentations had concluded, the volunteers filled up on more food from Fabiani's, this time the amazing fresh foccacia, pasta, and ceasar salad.  After a light sail back to the harbor all of our passengers were off loaded, and another successful Blue'ina was in the books!

{All photos by Ben Pernia]