Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023 |
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• Now our problems
• Superferry scenario
Now our problems
The Superferry issue is perhaps the most fascinating battle of logic to come along in many years. On one hand they say it’s good for the economy. It’s good for the people of Hawai‘i. The state supports it.
On the other, they say it’s bad for the environment. It’s bad for crime and traffic. It’s bad for the whales. It’s bad for the ease at which the homeless, mongoose, pests, plant viruses, drugs and all sorts of dangerous items can be carried to a clean environment from one that is already suffering from an excess of all of these problems.
The island of Kaua‘i for thousands of years has separated itself from the rest of Hawai‘i. From before the time Kamehameha failed to conquer Kaua‘i by force this island has stood alone.
The reason? Not only is Kaua‘i a good distance from the other islands and separated by a dangerous channel, but Kaua‘i is unique in its beauty and clean environment among all of the other islands, if not the world as a whole.
The majority of people in Hawai‘i want the Superferry, they say. That’s probably true. If I lived on O‘ahu, and specifically Honolulu, I would want it badly. For them, Kaua‘i would be a fun SUV or motor-home escape from the dangerous environment they live in.
For Kaua‘i, however, it’s the transfer of what ‘Honoluluites’ are escaping from to Kaua‘i that is so dangerous. Make no mistake, the transfer of a portion of those problems to Kaua‘i will definitely take place. It’s only the amount of damage that should be the subject of conversation. If you debate that, please pass me your rose-colored glasses.
I’ve been respectfully visiting Kaua‘i nearly every year since 1971 … sometimes for two weeks and sometimes for a month. At the ripe old age of 53, I hope to continue doing so. I’m not a selfish visitor. I support local Kaua‘i causes, buy most of my food at the farmers markets, and trade with local merchants as much as my pocketbook allows while there.
My grandparents’ cremains are on Sleeping Giant (they began visiting you in the 1960s), so Kaua‘i is an important part of my heritage.
I’ve seen many changes over many years — some good; some not. Hopefully you don’t think I am presumptive or selfish in sharing my opinions about “Kauai and the Superferry.”
I’m from a state (Oregon) where environmental activists took over and nearly closed down our entire logging and timber industries. I live in an “EX” mill town, so you can safely assume I’m NOT a radical environmentalist … but I AM very concerned about the effects the ferry will have on Kaua‘i and its people.
Yes, the whales and monk seals could be hit by huge cruise ships already coming in and out of Nawiliwili Harbor — but how OFTEN do those cruise ships arrive? I presume the Superferry’s schedule will be more frequent. If it weren’t for the fact all those cruise ships sleep their folks on board and use tour buses or local guides, I’d be 100 percent opposed to them too (but I know the island’s economy relies on the trade they bring).
Now, suppose there was a rental car driving around aimlessly on your overburdened highways for every two or three people riding on a cruise ship? That should give you a peek into the nightmare the Superferry may bring to your lanai.
Here’s a scenario:
Mike and Marge Mainlander heard Kaua‘i is lovely, and they want to “see” it; but the free trip Mike’s company gave him to Hawai‘i only covers 10 days in Honolulu.
Marge spends all her travel money on trinkets for the grandkids in Honolulu her first day there. The next day she roasts herself bad on Waikiki Beach, so the third day they rent a car in Honolulu, and fill it with gas at the rental place in Honolulu.
Soon Mr. and Mrs. Mainlander find the local traffic too much to handle. They remember travel photos of beautiful, quiet Kaua‘i, so they fork over big bucks to the Superferry in Honolulu to take them there.
They spend hours on the ferry (does Kaua‘i get a percentage off on ferry vendor sales?). They don’t feel so hot ‘cause it’s bumpy, and they’re grouchy ‘cause rain is reported in Lihu‘e today. Ah, well … they arrive at Nawiliwili (boy are those surfers and tourist types who are paying money to stay on Kaua‘i pissed that: a) it’s raining; and b) their fun swimming and surfing in the bay is interrupted by a stupid ferry (and they can’t lay on the beach because it’s cordoned off for the monk seal’s nap — Yeah! for the monk seal — just don’t let the sleepy endangered little bugger get hit by the ferry!).
OK, the Mainlanders are off the ferry now — joining the throngs of other people who rented cars somewhere else and are clogging an already nightmare traffic situation on Kaua‘i. Gosh, they wanted to see all this stuff, but the traffic … well, maybe they can see one or two things … but that means skipping meals and any stops to shop in order to make it back to the almighty ferry in time to get back to their hotel in Honolulu.
Yep, you guessed it … their impression of Kaua‘i is an “absolute ripoff … it’s nothing like we expected .. .so crowded it was a hassle to try to do anything … in fact the traffic was such a mess that we couldn’t even stop to eat or buy anything … and we only saw a few places, and it was raining, and we don’t know why anyone would ever want to pay to spend any time on Kaua‘i — we’d never go back!”
By the way … guess where Mr. and Mrs. Mainlander ate their expensive dinner and drank their expensive frou frou drinks that evening? …. you guessed it! …in Honolulu!
OK now, sorry to be such a drama queen (but I do talk good story, no?). While I admit I don’t know all the details, I have spent a lot of time on planes and in lines with lots of Hawaiian tourists (I am one!).
I’m not trying to “keep” Kaua‘i for myself — I wish everyone could experience the warm spirit of Aloha that saturates the Kaua‘i rains and its gentle winds. It just sounds like this Superferry has been allowed to steamroll its way into the Garden Island with very little study as to what will happen to not only the environment, but also to the people who live there.
Do you really want to look like Honolulu? … especially at your expense (you pay for it in having bad traffic and wear and tear on your highways while Honolulu gets the cash!). If so, then it sounds like that Superferry will help you achieve that mess (I mean GOAL) real soon!
Mahalo for your kind attention.
P.S. Have only been to Molokai once … but it’s lookin’ pretty good!
Klamath Falls, Oregon
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