PHOTOS: Water Blockade Temporarily Stops Molokai Cruise Ship
By Wendy Osher
A group of protesters say a cruise ship “snuck back onto Molokai” after it was turned away a day earlier by a water blockade.
Molokai resident Walter Ritte said protesters successfully turned back a scheduled docking of the American Safari Cruises ship on Saturday by blocking the entrance to Kaunakakai Harbor using 14 people on small boats and surfboards.
The water blockade was hailed as a victory by the protestors, who were unable to stop the cruise company from conducting business during two earlier protests.
But the following morning (on Sunday, November 27, 2011), the ship returned for an unscheduled docking and was able to unload passengers. Protesters say the group was unable to access Halawa Valley as planned because of a downed tree and traffic.
Those opposed to the visits are seeking community input on decisions over tourism on the island.
The company website promotes its journey as “an un-cruise experience” with small voyages that combine upscale cruising with adventurous activities.
Supporters of the operation say the cruise supports local business by utilizing island products and services, and helps to address the historically high unemployment rate on the island.
Officials from American Safari Cruises say a community meeting is planned at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 30, at the Mitchell Pauole Center. Company CEO, Dan Blanchard is scheduled to attend.