Thursday, July 23, 2015

We all know not to run
with scissors, but what about snorkeling with them? That's the situation you
might find yourself in during a Blue 'Aina reef cleanup with Trilogy—a
snorkeling charter specifically designed to help save Maui's reefs.
Imagine yourself snorkeling in a cobalt cove off Maui's leeward coast,
although instead of sea turtles, reef fish, eagle rays, lobsters, eels, or
dolphins, you're on the lookout for plastic bottles, fishing line, and
debris. You swim by an uhu—or parrotfish—with its cerulean and turquoise
scales, then notice, off in the distance, past a mound of lime green lobe
coral and skittish school of goat fish, a strand of fishing line wrapped
around coral and rocks. With scissors and small mesh bag in hand, you
carefully snip the line and remove a cluster of tackle—in the process,
saving a piece of Maui's fragile reef. This experience is open to all
Maui visitors as part of the Blue 'Aina program, which was started back in
2010 by a team of Trilogy's crew. The program was seen as an easy way to
give back to the island's reefs, and help take care of the bays where
crewmembers would dive, snorkel, and surf. Now, more than six years, 100
cleanups, and hundreds of pounds of trash later, the program not only educates
visitors on sustainability and stewardship, but also acts as a conduit for
businesses to support local non-profits. In addition to providing the
opportunity to physically clean a reef, each Blue 'Aina sail pairs corporate
sponsors with environmental non-profits. The "cost" of sponsorship is a
$1,000 donation toward groups who are helping the island, and in the past,
luxury resorts such as The Grand Wailea and The Fairmont Kea Lani have
generously sponsored the sails with donations to island non-profits. On
your next trip to Hawaii, take a Blue 'Aina sail (once a month, $30 per
person), and spend a morning snorkeling Honolua Bay, Mala Wharf, or Olowalu,
and—while enjoying lunch from Cool Cat Café, Leilanis, or Maui Brewing
Company—you can learn how the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project is saving
endangered forest birds, or how the Hawaii Wildlife Fund is conducting
research on endangered Hawksbill sea turtles. It's this exposure to
researchers and conservationists, says Li Anne Driessen—Trilogy's Director
of Sales and Marketing—that makes the sails such a rewarding experience for
visitors as well as the island. "Besides the support non-profits
receive," says Driessen, "what's really valuable is the opportunity for
our guests to hear from local scientists, and learn more about their latest
research and work toward conservation. A goal of ours is to educate guests
about our island's environment, and have them go and share that knowledge
and turn it into action. " Kyle Ellison is on the Hawaii beat for Travel
+ Leisure. He divides his time between Hawaii and Asheville, N. C. More
good reads from T+L:
• World's Best Islands
• 25 Secret European Villages
• Best Places to Travel in 2015 Did you enjoy
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Trilogy water excursions offers monthly sails to snorkel and clean up area
reefs.

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