Friday, August 29 was a special morning for ReefTeach when twelve members from the Makapo Canoe Club joined Caroline Neary and Judy Tarbet as ReefTeachers for the day. Makapo Canoe Club is a competitive paddling team for blind and visually impaired athletes.They traveled to Kona for the Queen Lili‘uokalani Canoe Race on August 30.
As the group arrived, we shared the history of ReefTeach with them and its positive impact at Kahalu‘u Bay.We talked about the cultural significance of Kahalu‘u Bay and its incredible marine ecosystem.Our Makapo friends asked great questions about turtles, corals, and the formation and geomorphology of the beach itself. They especially enjoyed hearing about the types of fish we have in the Bay. They explored the ReefTeach tent to become familiar with the layout of the storyboards and the other educational materials we have available for visitors.
The group then donned their ReefTeach t-shirts and hit the beach!Dividing into small groups, they made their way around the beach, talking to visitors and sharing their enthusiasm for protecting the reef.Many waded into the water and used the ReefTeach Reference books to educate people on their way to snorkel.Their impact was amazing – for the hour that the Makapo Canoe Club was in the water, everyone swimming and snorkeling at Kahalu‘u stopped to hear more about ReefTeach.
As their visit began winding down, we all enjoyed juice and cookies while sharing stories about paddling and their visit to Kona.Having these visitors was truly an honor.They made a tremendous impact at Kahalu‘u and shared their Aloha with everyone they encountered.We look forward to next year when our Makapo friends return!
For more information about the Makapo Canoe Club and their adventures in Kona, you can visit http://www.ocmap.org/home2/index.php