Cleaning ‘until no mo’ opala

POIPU — The word of the day was “Eee-yuu!” as volunteers cleaned the shoreline fronting the wall along Poipu Beach Road leading to the Sheraton Kauai Resort.

“This is the same kind Grandpa has,” said Jaicie Martinez, fishing out a discarded aluminum beer can from the naupaka thicket fronting the Poipu resort.

Martinez, and her brothers Jaden and Cody, were among the nearly three dozen people in the group that included Sheraton Kauai associates, guests and the Surfrider Foundation who were cleaning the shoreline west of Sheraton Kauai along the stone wall Friday afternoon. The group pulled out more than 350 pounds of opala.

“We know there are a lot of people on the wall,” said Jacob Vogelgesang of the Sheraton Kauai. “When you have that many people all the time, you know what is left? Opala!”

Vogelgesang said the idea for cleaning the coastline came during a brainstorming session on what the resort could do to help the community more.

“This was one of the ideas everyone agreed on,” he said. “And it was pretty high on the priority list. We did a cleanup once, about nine years ago. This is the first one we’re doing after about nine years.”

The Martinez children were helping Chef Ruslyn Morita of the RumFire restaurant, whose Table 53 has a charitable program, You Dine, We Give, that benefits a local nonprofit each month.

“I made them come,” Morita said. “And if they don’t a good job, they might have to do it all weekend.”

Vogelgesang said among the guests he shuttled to the Koloa Landing side of the wall were Paul Horner, the general manager of Kukuiula Development, and four members of the Davis family from San Francisco, who are staying at the resort.

“We just put the word out on fliers,” Vogelgesang said. “The fliers were placed in all the rooms and anyone who wanted to come was welcome.”

Chip Bahout, the Sheraton Kauai general manager, said the cleanup was important.

“Our oceans and beaches are vital to the success and health of our local community and the visitor industry,” Bahout said. “It is important for us to act as stewards of the islands. By ensuring our coastlines are well-maintained, marine life will flourish, and our kamaaina and visitors can continue to enjoy the natural beauty of Kauai.”

Tori Quint, a Sheraton Kauai associate, said they were going to work at the task from 3 p.m. until around 5 p.m., or “until no mo.’”

Vogelgesang said based on the success of Friday’s event, they might consider doing a coastline cleanup at least once a year.


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