After more than a decade on the shelf, Maui-based Trilogy Excursions has brought back its Ocean Adventure Camp for children.
The one-day camp is coupled with the tour company's flagship Discover Lanai tour as an add-on available for ages 6 to 12.
"The camp originally started in 2008, and it ran for two summers before we stopped it," said Magen Schifiliti, Trilogy Excursions conservation and education director. "We decided to bring it back because we've seen a shift both in our staff, which is very interested in the educational side of things, and we saw the need for guests coming aboard with us."
The boats have a dedicated camp counselor who runs activities for the children for the full eight-hour excursion, and families can sign up their kids either prior to the outing or on the day of the tour.
"During the summer, there are so many kids that come out with us, and we wanted to take the curriculum for the age group of kids we have with us onboard and fit it in with our conservation efforts," Schifiliti said.
Trilogy includes conservation in its mission, and the camp programming includes a mix of games, boat and ocean information, mixed in with marine biology, culture and ocean stewardship. The Ocean Adventure campers will also receive a complimentary rash guard, drawstring backpack, coloring workbook and reef-safe sunscreen.
"The kids have a lot of fun learning the Hawaiian names of the fish," Schifiliti said. "We encourage them to learn as many as they can and see if they remember them. They love getting to drive the boat and speak with the captain about all of the controls. They also really enjoy learning about Hawaiian culture and how the islands formed."
This summer the waters around Hawaii warmed up sooner than normal, she said, which has led to a burst of nutrients in the ocean and numerous sightings of whale sharks. Unfortunately, while the warmer sea temperatures have meant increased opportunities to see some marine species, it also is likely to lead to coral bleaching along Hawaii's reefs later in the summer, Schifiliti said.
"All of the boat companies, not just Trilogy, have been seeing more whale sharks this season," she said. "The added nutrients in the water also brings in manta rays and sting rays."
Trilogy's Discover Lanai Tour launched 45 years ago, and includes stops at the Hulopoe Marine Preserve for swimming, snorkeling and beach time, a hike or historic tour on Lanai, a barbecue lunch, and ice cream sundaes on the journey back to Maui.
The Ocean Adventure Camp is being offered through the end of August, and as long as there is sufficient demand, the idea is to bring it back every summer and possibly during peak family vacation times, such as December holiday season and spring break, Schifiliti said.