A Barbie Pink Pond on Maui

Barbie’s Pond, Maui?

kealia pond on maui

Kealia Pond

Kealia Pond in Kihei saw a surge in visitors in November to witness a pink pond. Questions swirled….has someone put food coloring in the water? Has Barbie-mania spilled pink into the real world?

As a matter of fact, there is no mischief here, unless you point to Mother Nature herself. Science confirms a beautiful natural phenomenon, an algae bloom, has turned its waters pink.

Pointing to recent drought conditions, the pond has been cut off from the ocean for the last several years. It is located along Kihei’s Sugar Beach also known as Kealia Beach. This pond and the mudflats are designated as Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge with its coastal boardwalk and now pink pools.

It’s Called an Algae Bloom

Stephanie Stack, Chief Research Biologist for Pacific Whale Foundation, explains “That has caused some algae and bacteria to bloom, some species that are very salt-tolerant and that thrive in a salty environment.”

She claims “The freshwater is evaporating and leaving behind a lot of salt and so that’s leaving it with this beautiful pink color.”

algae bloom turns maui pond pink

Lots of people have seen Maui’s pink pond on Instagram and have asked me if the color change was a trick of the camera or Photoshop. I put my Sherlock Holmes hat on and did some on the scene investigative work. I had to see for myself. And, yes, quite remarkably, I can confirm it, the water has indeed turned pink!

“It seems that those type of algae, they have beta carotene pigment in them, which is like what give carrots the color that they have,” Stephanie explained. “It’s nothing manmade or toxic that we need to be concerned about,” her confirmation quashing any rumor or further speculation linking this in anyway to the phenomenon that is Barbie.

However, I can attest to seeing Barbie fans flocking to this wildlife preserve.

pink pond on maui

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed the Hawaii Department of Health has collected samples for further analysis by the University of Hawaii. The pond is home to fish and migrating birds who take refuge here from their long-distance travels of 2000+ miles.

The wildlife here does not seem to have been adversely affected by the algae bloom or salt content. Like Stephanie says, “Nature is sometimes pretty amazing.”

beach near the pink pond on maui

Sugar Beach is a favorite strip of white sand that sees turtles hatching, boating activities, avid walking fans as the beach stretches for miles. And of course, the pink ponds just inland from this idyllic setting.

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