The Blue'Aina team was at it again on March 23rd, this time heading to the "Shark Pit" reef just south of Lahaina Harbor. Some runoff from the heavy rains the night before rendered much of the shoreline inaccessible, but luckily we were able to find a puka of clear water to snorkel and clean the reef.
Though the name "Shark Pit" sounds somewhat terrifying, the name is actually a historical reference dating back to the time of the whaling ships. The Shark Pit area has a narrow channel where boats can squeeze through the reef, and fishing boats or those with whale carcasses aboard would attract toothy companions to the area. That was 160 years ago, however, and now the only sharks you'll find in the area are the occasional black tip or white tip reef sharks who inhabit the caves and crevices.
Shark Pit is also a popular surfing area during the south swells of summer, and as part of our original partnership with the Surfrider Foundation, the goal of Blue'Aina was to clean Maui reefs which were popular for all forms of ocean recreation including surfing, snorkeling, and diving.
Anchoring in about 30 feet of water, Captain Caleb lowered the ladder into the clear waters just around the edge of the reef. With mesh bags and scissors in hand, we were on the lookout for fishing line, glass bottles, and any debris which might have fallen from boats which are moored in the nearby area. We reminded our volunteers of the proper ways of how to remove garbage from the reef (ie snipping at fishing line with scissors instead of tearing at it with your hands), and we always encourage leaving debris in the water which is exhibiting any sort of live coral growth.
Though we didn't find much in the way of glass bottles, we did find some fishing line, a PVC pipe, as well as a sunken camera! Coming back with relatively empty-bags is always a bittersweet occurrence, because one hand there is the "treasure hunt" mentality of returning with a bag full of booty, and on the other hand it's encouraging to know that the reef is relatively clean. We were also greeted by a couple passing turtles and the sound of distant whales, and overall we saw beautiful conditions for cleaning the Lahaina reef
Aside from cleaning the reef itself, we were treated to lunch by Maui Brewing Company who graciously stepped up as the event's food sponsor, in addition to Goodfellow Brothers who were the corporate sponsors of the sail and made a generous donation of $1,000 to the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project.
The team gave an informative, educational, and enlightening talk about the threats currently facing our endangered Maui forest birds, and in order to join us for the day's event, the team literally hiked through a pouring rainstorm from their camp in the Waikamoi Forest Reserve. This is a great organization that we are proud to support, and the Maui Brewing Company also hold a "pint night" a couple of times per year where proceeds raise funds for the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project.
Mahalo once again to all of our dedicated volunteers who continue to help us scour the reefs, and thanks to your help, we are truly able to notice a difference in the health of our reefs and shorelines. Aloha!