On Monday, August 3rd the crew of Hōkūleʻa ventured, as many other ocean lovers before them, in search of Indonesia’s most beloved attractions. Located on the southern tip of Bali’s Bukit peninsula, the famous reef break known as Uluwatu has been a favorite destination of wave riders over the generations. This wave has a unique connection to Hawai‘i in that it was first revealed to the surfing world when Hawai‘i’s own Gerry Lopez visited the wave in 1974. For fans of surfing this was the moment when the world’s most famous goofy-footer met the world’s best left-hand wave.
Since then, this wave has become a mecca for surfers from around the world, and the tiny town of Uluwatu has been built around this influx of surf-stoked travelers. Over the years, however, this traffic has negatively impacted the coastal town through litter and other waste and environmental management issues. Recently, a pro-active approach has been taken by organizations such as Project Clean Uluwatu (PCU), the group that hosted our crew for the day. Originally formed by a group of visiting surfers, Project Clean Uluwatu organizes weekly beach cleanups that now include the help of board riders local to the Uluwatu area. The hope is that through education, not only visitors but local community as well will see the benefit of a cleaner beach, aesthetically, environmentally, and economically.
PCU has also begun to build infrastructure along the Uluwatu cliffs in the form of waste water gardens that use the root systems of the plants to filter the water of the warungs “shops” before the water makes its way to the ocean.
The connection between Project Clean Uluwatu and Hawaii started when the president of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi hosted the boys from Uluwatu to a beach cleanup training on O‘ahu. Sustainable Coastlines is doing amazing work around the world to connect people to their coastal environment, in hopes of reducing our use of plastic and our impact on our beaches and oceans. Several months ago, our Hōkūleʻa crew teamed up with Sustainable Coastlines in Aotearoa to mālama Waiheke Island, and to learn about the efforts in Aotearoa to change the way people interact with and take care of their environment.
It was a pleasure for the crew to spend the day up in Uluwatu immersed in ocean and beach exploration and cleanup with the PCU crew, and for those of us with a love for surfing to meet that famous left-hand break.
As the crew of Hōkūleʻa continues to learn from organizations around the world doing their part to Mālama Honua, the global network of people caring for Island Earth continues to reveal itself as a living, breathing story of hope for the world.