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Molokai Cruise Ship Visit Cancelled: Hawaii Island News


640px-Downtown_KaunakakaiMolokaii has always been a little different, and more suspicious of strangers than other islands.  There have been several demonstrations recently to protest cruise ships visiting Molokai.  This time, the demonstration actually stopped a small cruise ship from entering Kaunakakai Harbor. 

There are only about 3000 people who live in Kaunakai, so you can imagine why they don’t want to be flooded with cruise ships.  Its a tiny town with a small but beautiful harbor.  The picture above is of downtown Kaunakai.


Molokai Cruise Ship Visit Cancelled

A small cruise ship scheduled to visit the Hawaiian island of Molokai today will skip the call in the wake of protests by islanders worried about its impact.

American Safari Cruises’ 36-passenger Safari Explorer also skipped a scheduled stop at Molokai on Saturday after encountering protesters on boats and surfboards while approaching the island’s Kaunakakai Harbor. The vessel instead spent the day off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Lanai but returned to Molokai on Sunday and was able to dock without incident.

The Honolulu Civil Beat today quotes American Safari CEO Dan Blanchard as saying he heard enough Molokai residents voicing concerns about the ship at a community meeting Wednesday that he decided to postpone more visits until an agreement with community members could be reached.

"We are committed to further dialogue and will respectfully work with leaders in the community," Blanchard told the news outlet.

its first voyages in Hawaii in October, touting an off-the-beaten-path itinerary that included stops in little-visited Molokai as well as Lanai and Molokini — islands not normally on the schedule for cruise ships. The Safari Explorer is slated to operate 24 sailings in the region through May 2012 before returning to Alaska for the summer.

Protesters in Molokai had met the Safari Explorer several times since it began visiting in October, but until last weekend, the ship hasn’t had any trouble docking at the island.

Relatively unpopulated and undeveloped compared with Hawaiian tourist meccas Maui and Oahu, Molokai has a long history of resisting the development of tourism, including cruise ship visits. In 2003, Holland America and Princess abandoned plans to send ships to the island after widespread protests. Still, the number of vacationers American Safari is bringing to the island — a few dozen a week — is small even by Molokaiian standards.  original story here

Personally, I think this issue will be settled soon.  The islanders have every right to protest to save the environment and the “island vibe” of Molokai, so when a Molokai cruise ship visit is cancelled due to protests, that’s a good thing!

I hope the residents of Molokai and the owners of that tiny cruise ship company work it out.

Coming to agreement is part of the Hawaiian way.

~~ Aloha Nui Loa


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