Piano’s notes to ring of a departed ‘Wind’

NAWILIWILI — For passengers departing the Norwegian Cruise Lines’ “Norwegian Wind,” it was business as usual, yesterday.

But the many people who are involved in hosting the cruise ships in Nawiliwili knew better.

“This is her last trip,” a Harbor Mall greeter said as she watched her shuttle move a load of passengers from Pier 3 where the cruise ship was docked. “I think they’re going to turn her into a casino.”

William Foster, the bandmaster aboard the “Norwegian Wind,” wasn’t sure, but confirmed that Wednesday was the “Norwegian Wind’s” final trip to Kaua‘i.

Foster was more concerned about his task on the cruise ship’s final docking at Nawiliwili. Through various dealings with island residents, the “Norwegian Wind” was cajoled into donating its baby grand piano to Kaua‘i High School.

The discussions leading to the donation brought together Denise Hayashi of the NCL and Linda Smith, principal for Kaua‘i High School. Between the two, the coordination to move the piano from the ship to campus began several weeks ago and culminated with the actual unloading from the “Norwegian Wind’s” final port of call to Nawiliwili.

Initially, Kaua‘i Commercial personnel along with Matson Navigation and McCabe, Hamilton and Renny were the primary players when the ship docked.

But as things always change, so did the players, inserting Steven Girald and a crew from Kaua‘i Freight Service to serve as “piano movers.”

“We already did some of the prep work, removing some of the pieces for moving,” Foster said. “But they still have more work to be done before it gets moved to the ship’s elevator, lowered to the deck level and loaded by forklift to the truck.”

Working against the clock, Girald secured clearances for three of the Kaua‘i Freight Service workers — Bert Kanahele, David Shintani and Vernon Kaohelaulii and the move began amidst the flow of passengers to and from the ship.

“You gotta give Steven a lot of credit,” Dewayne Kong of Matson Navigation said. “He had to get people to replace the piano movers and the other movers on short notice. Nothing could have worked without his efforts.”

Kong, Harvey Kinoshita of McCabe, Hamilton and Renny supervised the movement on the harbor, as the McCabe forklift rocked the “Norwegian Wind” creating movement in one of its lifeboats where crews were replacing a motor.

“I don’t think they need a piano in Southeast Asia,” Foster said while waiting, about the ships’ destination. “This piano has been on several of the ships and has traveled places. It might have some cosmetic damage, but otherwise, it’s in good shape and I’m glad the school can use it.”

Foster, who coordinates the ship musicians as well as performs on the ship as bandmaster, said while this might be the final trip for the “Norwegian Wind,” he feels another ship will be brought in to take its place.

For himself, he’ll just be moving on to another ship assignment once this cruise is done. For Kaua‘i High School, each time a note is played on the baby grand, it will sing of the memories of the “Norwegian Wind’s” Nawiliwili visits.

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