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Yacht Docking Canceled This Weekend

American Safari Cruises (ASC) owner Dan Blanchard announced yesterday that the Safari Explorer yacht will not dock on Molokai as scheduled this weekend. The cancellation followed a community meeting Wednesday night, which was attended by over 300 residents.

While residents testified both for and against the yacht’s Molokai stop, Blanchard said enough residents voiced concerns that the company decided to postpone docking until the company could talk to more community members.

“We are committed to further dialogue and will respectfully work with leaders in the community,” Blanchard said via email Thursday.

 “We are not against this cruise ship,” said activist Walter Ritte, who had led protests against the yacht. “[Thirty-six people is] not a big deal. So why are we protesting? Nobody asked us what are our concerns … We demand participation and control.”

For some, the yacht and its passengers bring much-needed income.

“If I never had tourists coming in our store, we wouldn’t make it,” said one local businesswoman. “Give them [ASC] a chance.”

Others say a subsistence lifestyle is what supports them, and they argue money is not enough reason to allow the Safari Explorer to dock on Molokai.

“I hunt, I fish, I farm — I can live without your money,” resident Anela Albino told Blanchard at the meeting.

Zeke Kalua, a Molokai native and executive assistant to Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa, said his attendance at the meeting was neither in support nor opposition of the yacht, but said he “represents a majority of sons and daughters who can’t come home right now” because of the poor economy.

“We have to take into consideration that progress can be made without destroying the island,” he said.

County Council Chair and Molokai representative Danny Mateo agreed, saying after the meeting, “our island’s economy is dying. We gotta bring our kids home.”

“The time has come to decide as a community what the role [of tourism] is – what is acceptable,” he added.

The `Aha Ki`ole is conducting an island-wide survey to better gauge public views on the yacht. The survey period will be over on Dec. 16, according to Opuulani Albino, a local `Aha Ki`ole leader. After that time, she said, the group will make a recommendation based on the survey’s results.


4 Responses to “Yacht Docking Canceled This Weekend”

  1. Coco.Puff says:

    re: “We are not against this cruise ship,” said activist Walter Ritte, who had led protests against the yacht. “[Thirty-six people is] not a big deal. So why are we protesting? Nobody asked us what are our concerns … We demand participation and control.”

    Just what participation and control are you demanding of this company, Ritte?…you want to be their CEO…CFO… a paid consultant…what?
    Does this mean any company looking to do business on Molokai must turn over control to you? I don’t get it. Explain.

  2. Akamaihaole says:

    It’s a real shame,,,,
    Many good hard working folks would have benefited from the cruise boat. I call boat because 130 ft does not a cruise SHIP make.
    I don’t like to use cliches, but these people are “Eco friendly” tours…..
    These people are not about sex, drugs, rock’n roll and free fruity drinks!
    They try to leave the smallest footprint that they can
    Molokai has really dropped the ball on this one!
    Here,,, the big chance for the “real Hawaiians” to show the world the other side of Hawaii nei? The spiritual side? The aina side? The Hawaiian side?
    I can’t understand why the ball has been dropped.
    Ok,,,,, some of you say. “we don’t need your money”. Ok, fine. But in the long run,,,, it could be a helpful thing too eh? A little extra cash? To show a few haole visitors the old ways?
    Were not talking Polynesian cultural center here!
    It’s an opportunity to share a wonderful culture, lifestyle,and spirituality.
    There will never be another Waikiki on Molokai,,,, you folks have made sure of that,,,, and ,,, nobody wants another Waikiki, Waikiki is fine just where it is,,,,, and many people from all parts of the world come, stay, and enjoy themselves!
    What is wrong with that?
    Every day we fight against each other on Molokai,,,,, Molokai looses a bit of her magic,
    Can’t you feel it?
    Hate, intolerance, racism and greed only sap away the magic of molokai.
    Once the Mana is gone,,,,,, it may never return
    Nobody here is banking on a cash-cow! Were only trying to survive in these screwed up times!
    Next meeting,,, let Molokai come together!
    No more, me, me, me!
    How about,
    Us, us, us!
    No more PROBLEMS,,,,
    How about SOLUTIONS?
    So much more easy than fighting amongst each other.
    Can’t you imagine a Molokai where small groups of Eco friendly tourists come and experience a Hawaii that can be found nowhere else? Where old traditions, and the old ways are not only shown( like poly cult cntr) but lived?
    Can’t we see the opportunity that lies just beyond our fingertips?
    It’s not about $$$$$$$
    It’s about preserving a lifestyle!
    Please work together and finish this pilikia!
    No more “you” this, and “them” that!
    Enough already!
    Think about it!

  3. Molokaiwahine says:

    The ships not pau yet. If you want to help go to the book store and talk to the owner and ask how you can help……we do need jobs to survive and jobs need to be created for sure…..

  4. livaloha says:

    Walter: Who are you to demand anything? Participation and CONTROL??!! While I’m sure you wish it wasn’t so, this is still the USA and folks can do business without kow towing to a self appointed “leader” of a hui with an agenda that’s causing people financial harm. Please use your powers of persuasion and ability to inspire people to help Molokai.

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