Must be a cold snap in hell
It may be true that, "What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas," but it certainly isn't true in Hawaii.
Mainland media outlets are frequently quick to headline our state's perceived failings, whether it is regarding its political orientation, its educational system, its community relations, or its business climate.
So it is understandable that the subject of our dilapidated state-run small boat harbors is periodically a topic in various mainland boating publications.
It is also understandable that often the most critical commentary has come from Richard Spindler, the publisher of Latitude 38, a magazine many sailors consider their primary source for racing and cruising news.
Spindler has been a perennial visitor to our islands for as long as I can remember and has witnessed firsthand the degradation of our marinas. Still, he recently acknowledged there might be changes on the horizon.
In an online newsletter piece headlined, "Hell Freezes Over," Spindler wrote, "Yes, it seems that hell has frozen over, because the State of Hawaii, after all these decades, is actually taking a baby step to improve things in one part of the woefully rundown 747-berth Ala Wai Yacht Harbor in Honolulu."
He was referring to the work that has begun on replacing the floating dock that the Waikiki Yacht Club had donated to the state several years ago as a temporary replacement for the original F Dock slips the state had condemned.
Nevertheless, Spindler noted, "It will still leave a staggering 90 of the marina's 747 slips unusable -- in a place where the demand for slips far exceeds the supply."
By then quoting a Star-Bulletin editorial that among other things, encouraged the Legislature to approve bonds and fee programs that would further the improvements at the Ala Wai and other state marinas, Spindler showed that although he is based in the San Francisco Bay area, he is also paying attention to our local sentiments -- and agreeing with them.
"In other words, the Star-Bulletin is saying exactly what (veteran Transpac sailor and movie producer) Roy Disney and we at Latitude have been saying for years." And he added, "We wish the state of Hawaii the best of luck with their project."
For those who missed Disney's most recent critical comments, he had noted that while the Ala Wai Harbor is without a doubt the single-most important and prestigious location for a world-class marina in the entire northeast Pacific, its boating facilities appeared to be suffering from what seemed to be almost malicious neglect.
Because those comments were said to encourage our state to act, I'm sure Disney is now as pleased with the state's recent efforts to upgrade the Ala Wai's facilities, as are Spindler and this paper's editorial staff.
If the state will now proceed with its planned replacement of the Ala Wai's disintegrating B, C, and D Docks as promised, there may even be reason to think that if hell hasn't actually frozen over, it may have at least experienced a measurable cold snap.