Dead Man’s curve to Puena Point… 10 mile stand up paddle with a couple friends… One for my record books. We were escorted by the wind and at times, the waves too. This was my first time on a SUP and I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting into.
The first stretch to Haleiwa was spent looking at the wakes of my friends cranking it. I could barely keep up. By the time we hit Waimea I was beat and the peacefulness of the Bay demanded me to relax and hit up the jump rock.
Physically and mentally recharged, we cruised on. The highlight of the paddle besides jump rock at Waimea and surfing some small waves along the way, the desolate stretch of coastline past Laniakea Beach left me in awe of how beautiful the north shore coastline is. No houses and massive green sea turtles everywhere.
Basking on the beach, frolicking in the shore break, munching on limu, and cruising down below. The only disturbing thing was the 2 turtles we saw with fishing line wrapped around their necks and flippers. Ouch!
“What can we do to fix this problem?” My friend Ryan Miller asked. After a bit of brainstorming an idea formed, “Let’s do a reef cleanup where we see these problems.” Ryan is no stranger to the Oahu coastline. Like many of us, it is where he works and plays.
While leading Stand Up Paddle tours for his company North Shore Paddle Adventures, he noticed a few hot spots where turtles are feeling the stress from fishing lines and hooks. “I have seen four turtles with fishing line wrapped around their necks and flippers near a beach park in Waialua.
I am going to do what I can to prevent this from happening to any more turtles.” So Ryan organized a reef cleanup near this popular fishing spot. The goal was to snorkel the area and remove as much fishing line, hooks, and trash from the reef as possible.
Sarah Fivgas, Claire Gorman, and myself (Drew Wilkinson) volunteered to help Ryan accomplish his goal to make Waialua a safer place for the honu. The turtles are feeding on the limu which grows on the top of the coral, which is where the nearly invisible pieces of broken off monofilament are tangled.
This serves as a booby trap for the honu. Throughout the cleanup, we removed over 50 feet of fishing line, 6 hooks, 3 crushed aluminum cans, and 5 fishing weights making it a safer place for the turtles to feed in peace. If your interested in a eco-friendly standup paddle adventure check out this website for more information: NorthShorePaddleAdventures.com