Hawaii Superferry Set Sail 10 Years Ago

Hawaii Superferry 2007

Throwback Thursday (#TBT)

By Melvin Ah Ching, Editor & Publisher, HawaiiFiles.com.

Can you believe slightly more than 10 years have passed since the Hawaii Superferry set sail in the islands. Hawaii residents were mostly thrilled to see the arrival of the ferry service which not only carried passengers between ports in the islands, but also vehicles of all types.

This was surely going to be a huge boom for inter-island travel, a new way of traveling from one county to another. Take your vehicle and even pack your stuff “in a laundry basket” as the TV commercial advertising the ferry once said.

Hawaii Superferry operated in the islands from August 2007 to March 2009. It was rough seas ahead for the ferry as it was met with stiff opposition from inter-island transport competitors Hawaiian and Aloha Airlines, Young Brothers shipping and a number of environmental groups and political interests.

Hawaii Superferry was able to establish its first route between Honolulu and Maui. It sailed to Kauai only once before activists shut it down by blocking the ferry from entering the harbor. Plans to sail to Kawaihae on the Big Island of Hawaii were never realized.

A few days after Superferry started, the service was suspended by a court ruling regarding an environmental impact statement.

A special legislative session to allow the Superferry to operate was held in late 2007. A bill was passed “to allow “large capacity ferry vessels” to operate between ports in the Hawaiian Islands while an environmental statement is prepared.”

Shortly after Governor Linda Lingle signed the bill into law, the Superferry resumed operations from December 2007 to March 2009. On March 16, the Hawaii State Supreme Court “ruled that allowing the Superferry to operate prior to completion of the environmental study was unconstitutional.”

Superferry operations permanently ended the day after. The Hawaii Superferry Company went into bankruptcy. The two vessels built for the operation (with only a single ship sailing between the islands at the time of closure) were eventually acquired by the U.S. Navy,

I was lucky enough to sail on the Hawaii Superferry from Honolulu to Maui and back shooting photos for the HawaiiReporter.com news site. It was one of those trips I’ll never forgot. After that trip, I looked forward to sailing on the Superferry between Honolulu, Maui and the Big Island as a regular paying customer.

Never happened.

Today most people who supported the concept of a privately funded ferry service wax nostalgic about the brief time Hawaii Superferry was in operation. It was a great travel option that should someday be tried again.

Hawaii Superferry
Hawaii Superferry sails out of Honolulu Harbor. August 2007.

Hawaii Superferry
Nice comfy seats on the Superferry, August 2007.

Hawaii Superferry 10-12-08
The Superferry sails back into Honolulu Harbor, 2008.

More Superferry Photos @ Flickr

 

Hokule’a Returns to Hawaii

Hokule'a Returns to Hawaii
The Hawaiian sailing canoe Hokule’a made its triumphant return to Hawaii today from its around the world voyage that started three years ago in 2014. The arrival of Hokule’a to Magic Island in Honolulu turned out to be an epic, historic event complete with a flotilla of several other sailing canoes and numerous smaller vessels that went out to sea to greet the canoe. Hokule’a spent the last weeks of its worldwide journey sailing to Hawaii from Tahiti, much like it was on her first trip to and from Tahiti back in 1976.

Volumes of stories have been told about the remarkable canoe which go far beyond the scope that this blog will ever achieve. What we have here is just a tiny snapshot of some of the pictures that we managed to capture on this day of homecoming.

Hokule'a Returns to Hawaii

Hokule'a Returns to Hawaii

Hokule'a Returns to Hawaii

Hokule'a Returns to Hawaii

Hokule'a Returns to Hawaii

Hokule'a Returns to Hawaii

Hokule'a Returns to Hawaii

All of the photos in this section are also posted to The Hawaii Files Flickr site.

Hokulea and Hikianalia in Hilo, Hawaii

Hokule’a and Hikianalia tied up in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii in May 2014 shortly before embarking on the worldwide voyage.

May The 4th Be With You

By Melvin Ah Ching

2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the creation of the highly successful George Lucas creation known as Star Wars. May the 4th is celebrated by Star Wars fans world wide in various ways. Most likely fans will flock to watch showings of the 8 Star Wars movies produced over the last 40 years.

In Honolulu The Movie Museum, a small theatre with plush lounge type seating will be showing the 7th installment of the Star Wars saga today: The Force Awaken. From The Last Outpost Hawaii science fiction and fantasy club on Oahu:

Thursday, 4 May 2017, 11am, 3:30, 6 & 8:30pm

Photo provided by Disney for the film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (2015-United States) 135m *** 1⁄2 D: J.J. Abrams. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill. This rousing space adventure is set 30 years after the defeat of Darth Vader (in RETURN OF THE JEDI). Luke Skywalker (Hamill) has disappeared, and the Resistance is still fighting the Empire, now renamed the First Order. Two unlikely heroes, a scavenger girl (Ridley) and a disgruntled Stormtrooper (Boyega) join Princess Leia (Fisher) and Han Solo (Ford) in the intergalactic battle against evil. PG-13.

The original Star Wars film from 1977 will be shown later this month, also at The Movie Museum:

Saturday, 20 May 2017, 1:15 & 6:00pm
Sunday, 29 May 2017, 11:00am, 3:45 & 8:30pm

Star Wars poster 1977

STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE (1977-US) 121m **** D: George Lucas. Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, James Earl Jones. This is the megahit that changed film making history. Not just a film franchise—the characters and music of this immersive universe are seared upon the world’s collective consciousness. Farm boy Luke (Hamill) happens upon spunky droid R2-D2, who leads him into a grand intergalactic adventure with smirking mercenary Han Solo (Ford) and courageous Princess Leia (Fisher) to battle dastardly Darth Vader (Jones). Don’t miss this 40th anniversary screening! Winner of 6 Oscars plus 50 more awards. PG

The latest installment of the Star Wars saga debuts this coming December when Disney / Lucasfilm releases Star Wars: The Last Jedi (teaser trailer above). You can bet that thousands of fans will be lining up on the first day at Hawaii theatres to watch this exciting film.

THROWBACK THURSDAY (#TBT) COMMENT

Like many people I am a huge Star Wars fan. Saw the first movie in 1977 at the Cinerama Theatre and the two sequels at the same place in 1980 and 1983. Those movies were glorious, the lines were long and the people were excited. The Cinerama Theatre was a single screen palace with a wide angle, curved screen. The original Star Wars movie was the first I saw that featured Dolby surround sound. I remember the ads touting “70mm 6 channel Dolby Stereo”.

Today all theatres have enhanced sound systems, bigger screens and higher image resolutions. Movies have transited from projected film to digital files.

Prices have dramatically creeped upward since 1977.

The cost to watch the original Star Wars was $3.50 per ticket. Today most movie tickets cost around $14 with higher prices for 3-D, high definition pictures, and IMAX versions of films.

As Star Wars fans go, no price increases or  long lines will keep them away from catching a Star Wars movie on the first day. “May the 4th” Be With You.

Remember the Dole Cannery Pineapple Tower?

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THROWBACK THURSDAY (#TBT): For many decades the Dole Cannery Pineapple water tower was a familiar sight to motorists traveling along Nimitz Highway. The pineapple tower was located on the premises of the old Dole Pineapple Cannery factory, which today is now a theater, shopping and office center complex.

The Pineapple was built in the late 1920s and stood 200 feet high at the cannery location for more than 60 years. It was torn down in the early 1990s due to rust and safety concerns. An article published in Honolulu Magazine have details regarding the pineapple tower’s construction, tenure, preservation and destruction.

After posting photos to Facebook, some of the comments I got included the following:

“Truly a beautifully crafted metal sculpture with perfect proportion. A landmark that we passed a lot because Nimitz was the only highway to the west. Stink, butt we liked the smell.” — Danny Daniels

“Memories come hither of my father driving pass this awesome landmark and we knew how close we were to home in Damon tract, another place of the past! Laying down in the car, the pineapple was a great sight!” — Johanna Amorin

“Wish they had thought to save it!!!!” — Beverly Sermersheim

The original intention was to store, save it and perhaps reconstruct it. However when it was checked, the insides were so far gone that the whole thing was mostly scrapped.

The photos were taken in the late 1980s or possibly 1990s.

Dole Pineapple Water Tank

The pineapple water tower was a major landmark in the Iwilei area. The pineapple smell was something to behold. Many people miss it today.

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