Though rain threatened in the morning, Trilogy’s Blue ‘Aina Campaign’s October 4th reef clean up managed to find a sunny window of time to malama our reefs. New volunteers and regulars alike joined us on Sunday morning in Lahaina Harbor, ready to dedicate their morning to cleaning a Maui nearshore reef of marine debris. We did our harbor clean up before boarding the boat, removing 2 large bags of trash from the harbor, including hundreds of cigarette butts. Captain Katie and the crew, Jason, Emily and Brian, decided to escape the rainy and surge-y conditions and headed to Olowalu, one of our favorite snorkel sites. We had a lovely trip along the coast, spotting flying fish on the way while snacking on breakfast pastries and fruit, and coffee provided by Starbucks Drive-Through Lahaina. We tied up to a mooring at Olowalu Reef and had a site briefing by Captain Katie and a quick reef clean up orientation by Kelly, our Blue ‘Aina Coordinator.
In addition to searching for marine debris, our volunteers surveyed the coral bleaching occurring and submitted reports to Division of Aquatic Resources’ Eyes of the Reef Network. Unfortunately, coral reefs are bleaching all over Hawai’i right now, due to high sea surface temperatures caused by climate change and the El Niño weather event occurring this year. According to Eyes of the Reef, “Corals have an important relationship (symbiosis) with single-celled algae (zooxanthellae), which live in their tissues. The algae provide food for the coral and in return the coral provides a stable home for the algae. Most of the coral’s nutrition comes from the algae. Coral bleaching is the loss of color from the colony when the algae are expelled from the coral polyps and then the white coral skeleton is visible through the transparent coral tissue”.
Volunteers buddied up and brought along dive shears and mesh bags, ready to carefully remove any fishing line littering the coral reef.
While surveying the reef for marine debris and coral bleaching, snorkelers were also able to enjoy swimming over Maui’s “mother reef”, among coral colonies hundreds of years old. They also spotted many green sea turtles at the “cleaning station”, where Hawaiian cleaner wrasse snack on the algae growing on a turtle’s shell and the turtles wait for a “car wash”.
On our sail back to Lahaina Harbor, we fueled up on a tasty and healthy salad lunch generously provided by Choice Health Bar, and learned from Victoria Martocci, the Maui representative from the non-profit recipient Malama Kai Foundation. Malama Kai maintains and replaces moorings in Hawai’i, greatly reducing anchor damage on the reef. Trilogy Excursions donated $1000 to Malama Kai Foundation to support the maintenance of Maui’s mooring system.
Please join us on our next Blue’Aina reef cleanup! Our next trip is Sunday, October 18th, loading at Ka’anapali Beach Hotel, with check in at 8:30am at the Trilogy Concierge Services Beach Desk fronting Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel.
Please note that you will be loading directly from the beach, through the surf zone, onto the boat, and you will get wet! We will return to Ka’anapali beach at 12:30pm. Our corporate sponsor is Ka’anapali Beach Hotel. Our food sponsor is Lulu’s Lahaina Surf Club & Grill. Our nonprofit recipient is Na ‘Aikane O Maui.
Tickets for the monthly reef cleanup are only $30 and are available for purchase through the Hawaii National Marine Sanctuary Foundation by either calling 408-569-7986, or by emailing http://firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to see you there!