West Maui reefs cleaned through Blue ‘Aina campaign
LAHAINA — In late 2009, the crew of Trilogy Excursions was on Oahu while their boat was in dry-dock. That same weekend, Surfrider Foundation held its first annual Hawaii State Conference to unite the islands’ chapters.
Several crew from Trilogy attended the Surfrider Oahu’s John Kelly Environmental Achievement Awards. They were so moved, they decided they wanted to do something to help the marine environment when they returned to Maui.
Being surfers and divers, the crew decided they wanted to clean 12 West Maui reefs over the next 12 months. The Blue ‘Aina campaign was born.
Each month, Trilogy picks a different reef, and along with Surfrider Foundation and up to 50 volunteers, they clean fishing line, mooring lines, rubbish and nets off the reef and beach.
The first Blue ‘Aina event was held the first weekend in December at Honolua Bay, where volunteers helped to remove leashes, broken surfboards, fishing line and marine debris.
They heard about a distressed reef at “Shark Pit” in Lahaina, where a large fishing net was stuck on the reef. That became the site of their second cleanup on the first weekend of January.
On Feb. 7, Surfrider Foundation and Trilogy took over 40 volunteers to Mala Wharf to remove fishing line, bottles, cans, carpet, mooring lines and fishing nets.
They even used a 100-pound lift bag to remove part of a sunken boat that had been shifting in surf and damaging the reef.
Volunteers cleaned the outer reef, inner reef and the beach.
Les Potts, executive committee member of Surfrider Foundation-Maui Chapter, headed up the beach cleanup, where they removed tires, building materials, marine debris, bottles and other rubbish.
During the Blue ‘Aina event, volunteers also tested the water for acidity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, phosphates and nitrates.
Starbucks donated coffee for the event, and Trilogy Capt. Brian Richard and crew members Jill, Nate, Knox, Nick and Chris participated.
Blue ‘Aina events will continue the first weekend of each month from 9 a.m. to noon. There is a suggested donation of $10. Half of the fee goes to Surfrider, and 50 percent supports reef awareness programs.
Lunch and refreshments are provided. To sign up, or to report a reef in distress, call Trilogy at 661-4743, extension 3.
Surfrider Maui Chapter Chair Tim Lara said the March cleanup may be held at Mala or Puamana.
He hopes the cleanups keep growing.
“The more volunteers, the better,” he said. “We could get a larger area of beach cleaned — more fishing line off reefs!”
Surfrider Foundation-Maui Chapter’s “Protect and Surf Rally” is set for March 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, 726 S. Kihei Road.
Attendees can join Surfrider Programs, including the Blue Water Task Force, reef and beach cleanups, native planting projects and RAP-Rise Above Plastics.
Speakers will include Hannah Bernard of Hawaii Wildlife Fund; Lucienne de Naie of Sierra Club Maui; Stuart Coleman, author of “Eddie Would Go” and “Fierce Heart;” Kimo Clark of The Throwdowns; Les Potts of the Honolua Advisory Council; and Lara.
The event will also feature refreshments and a surf movie.
For more information, contact Lara at Maui@surfrider.org or visit www.surfrider.org/maui.