Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Blue Aina Reef Clean Up with Trilogy II on Maui Hawaii

Last Sunday I was back on Trilogy II with my friends Julie and Lucy.  We were there to volunteer for the Blue'aina Reef Cleanup Campaign, Blue Aina meaning giving back to the ocean.
Trilogy Excursions teams up with the Surfrider Foundation and they are committed to cleaning up 12 reefs in 12 months. The wonderful thing about this event is that is that all the crew volunteer their time, on the first Sunday of every month. The cost is $20 for the morning and all proceeds go to non-profit organizations.
Julie having breakfast
On this particular Sunday, the non-profit group was the Human Dolphin Foundation, and Barbara was on board to tell us all about it.  The Human Dolphin Foundation was created in 1976 by Dr. John Lilly, a neuro physiologist studying the brain. He discovered that dolphins have large and highly complex brains and began studies of human/dolphin communication.  Barbara passed around pictures comparing the dolphin and human brains. The most fascinating thing was that under a project called Janus, Dr. Lilly and his team identified a 40 whistle/word vocabulary, that dolphins communicate with. You can read more about this fascinating research on the Human Dolphin Foundation website. Barbara also told us that we, as citizen scientists can help in dolphin research by reporting any sightings we have of dolphin pods. There is a link on their website called dolphin data base, which allows anyone to record sightings or encounters with wild dolphins.
Talk by Barbara from the Human Dolphin Foundation
Also on board were Jeep and Flo from the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Natural Marine Sanctuary.  Jeep told us about the many volunteer programs that strive to educate both children and adults about our humpback whales and how we can protect our ocean resources. One of the things they do is take water samples to check for water quality in the ocean. I volunteered to take a water bottle with me on the snorkel and collect a sample.  Later back on board, Flo showed me how they do the test for water quality. It is called a Turbidity test which translated, means to find out what is floating in the water.

Flo and I with our sample bottles
Flo doing the turbidity test
Jeep with the fish count survey 
Jeep is holding a fish count survey sheet, which she will take with her when she snorkels.  The data she records about the type and numbers of fish,  is then transferred to an online reef survey form at Reef.org

Marine biologist Cynthia Matzke, a Trilogy crew member and strong supporter of the campaign, thanked us all for coming and reiterated the day's theme of how we as citizen scientists can do so much to help save our oceans.

On the way out to sea, Captain Chris asked us to look out for a whale which had been entangled with fishing line.  I had seen the photo in the Maui news and unfortunately attempts to free the whale had failed.
We saw lots of whales breaching and swimming, but did not find the one in trouble.
Finally the ship stopped in a little cove where we were to do the reef clean up. There were quite a few people fishing from the shore, and we just hoped that they were responsible citizens, especially after we were about to see for ourselves how careless humans are harming our oceans.
Some of the debris taken off the reef
We were appalled at the amount of fishing gear that was tangled around the coral. Julie was the one in our group who dove down to cut it off, while Lucy and I were in charge of spotting debris and holding the bag.
Julie cutting fishing wire from the reef
After an hour Captain Chris blew the conch to bring us back to the ship.  Lunch tasted so good after all that swimming and hard work.
The lunch was provided at no cost by Beach Bums Bar and Grill in Maalaea.  It was a delicious pulled pork on a bun, served with salad and a huge platter of fruit. Needless to say, when we came back into the harbor we shouted out a huge Mahalo in the direction of Beach Bums.
At the end of the trip Cynthia announced that our group of 50 plus had raised a whopping $1,331 cash which she presented to Barbara for the Human Dolphin Foundation.
I found the experience extremely educational, and I definitely will turn out again to help. It was heart warming to meet so many people who are concerned about saving our oceans and the animals that live there.
February is Humpback Whale Month and a great time to get involved and learn more about these magnificent mammals. If you are interested in taking in some of the talks and activities for both adults and kids go to the events calendar for dates and times.
If you want to be part of the Blue Aina Campaign you can reserve online at the Trilogy Website.  Trilogy II leaves Maalaea Harbor at 8:30 AM on the first Sunday of every month and comes back in around noon.


1 comment:

  1. Chris is a great captain, but then again all the staff at Trilogy is fantastic. Sounds like you all had a great time.