WENDY OSHER / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-BULLETIN
Kahului resident William Kaholokula yesterday expressed concern over security issues regarding the Superferry.
Smooth sail for Alakai
Superferry crews and protesters ready for the vessel's return to Maui
WAILUKU » The Hawaii Superferry came and went from Kahului Harbor without incident yesterday as the vessel tested pier fittings and the crew readied for tomorrow's relaunch of service.
"The Department of Transportation, our staff and the Coast Guard has been trying to take into account the peaceful nature of Maui and yet be as considerate as they can of the situation while still fulfilling their operations," Superferry CEO John Garibaldi said.
A Coast Guard boat patrolled the harbor upon the Superferry Alakai's arrival yesterday to enforce a 100-yard moving security zone. When the Superferry returns tomorrow, an additional fixed security zone will be in place an hour before the Alakai's arrival and will be lifted 10 minutes after its departure.
A consortium of community groups and individuals, including the Maui Tomorrow Foundation, Save Kahului Harbor and Pacific Whale Foundation, have organized a "Rally FOR Maui - Let Your Voice Be Heard" event at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
A separate "Give Back Our Harbor Rally," supported in part by the Maui Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, is planned for 9 a.m. tomorrow to greet the vessel.
Some of the groups involved in Saturday's demonstration were also plaintiffs in the lawsuit that sought a permanent injunction against the Superferry as it conducts an environmental review. The plaintiffs were successful in stopping the Superferry's fledgling operations in late August, but a special session of the Legislature changed state law in October, allowing the relaunch of the vessel.
Despite strong feelings against the operation, the groups are encouraging safe and lawful protests of the vessel's return.
Garibaldi was among those who boarded the Superferry upon its Maui arrival yesterday to participate in a small ceremony for the shoreside and vessel staffs.
A kahu led the group in services, Garibaldi said, "as part of our respect for the Hawaiian culture and making things right."
The visit was planned to realign the vessel with the barge and pier following work conducted by the state Department of Transportation to repair damage to two bollards, or pier posts, caused by last week's Kona storm.
State Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Ishikawa said that although repairs were 90 percent done upon arrival of the vessel yesterday, work would be complete by the planned relaunch tomorrow.
The Superferry drew a small group of observers yesterday who continued to express opinions both for and against the vessel's return.
Kahului resident William Kaholokula expressed concern over security issues, saying, "I don't understand how come they don't have TSA workers here like at the airport, because common sense is going to tell you that Honolulu people are going to bring the ice (crystal methamphetamine) over here."
Kaholokula lives in the Harbor Lights Condominium complex that borders Kahului Harbor, but he said he also farms in Haiku and has concerns about invasive species. "Now we have this stinging caterpillar that's like a Portuguese man-of-war on land, and I got to watch for that now, and I got to watch for all these other bugs like the wasp that's killing all the wiliwili trees."
Arthur Goings, a Haiku resident, welcomed the sea-travel option.
"It's another alternative way of getting interisland, especially for a lot of my friends who are disabled and my aunties who are getting old," Goings said.