Note: Hawaii’s Superferry system was closed down. See our guide to Hawaii’s inter-island travel.
We’ve all been keeping our eyes on the Hawaii Superferry launch issues. Protests have even made the national news. Some people may be scratching their heads and wondering how on earth a $75 million ferry was ever commissioned with such opposition. Dave Zuls, our friend and long time Hawaii resident with an opinion, graciously offered to share some perspective about how and why things in Hawaii move at a different pace. Here’s what Dave says:
You’ve probably been reading about problems with the Hawaii Superferry getting turned back, etc. I don’t believe the Superferry issues will cause a problem for Hawaii visitors. In my opinion, air travel and car rentals are still the way to go while on vacation.
Some things look great on paper. For example, people need to get from “Point A” to “Point B”, so, let’s just build a road, or start a ferry service, etc. However, Hawaii is a little different than most places. Change is slow and we like it this way. Sometimes people fail to consider this when planning new businesses. People live in Hawaii for their own reasons and most people seem to like it here, just the way it is. No need to make changes. No need for more hotels or strip-malls or freeways or ferries, etc. Things are great just the way they are.
To illustrate this point, we only need to take a look back on all the issues with building the H-3 Highway on Oahu. This highway is just a few miles long but it took 37 years to build at a cost of over $1.5 BILLION! Do the math, and you’ll see that this stretch of road cost about 80 Million per mile! We needed a new road but didn’t want it to ruin the natural beauty of the island or disturb historical artifacts, etc. So, it took a little longer than expected. These two articles will help you to understand the history and issues that came about with building the H-3.
I’ve been speaking casually with the neighbors, coworkers, and people at church and at the market, etc, and no one seems overly concerned about the fate of the Superferry. We’ve lived without the Superferry for this long so we can do without it for a while longer. I’m neutral on the situation and so is just about everyone I speak to.
However, some people are very passionate about the issue. Here is a link to one of the main protest web sites. They raise some good points about why it might not be such a good idea to just casually ferry hundreds of cars between the islands every day. Here are some of the main points:
· Might cause traffic congestion. The roads are choked already.
· Might hurt the Humpback Whales.
· Mongoose (We hate them) They live on Oahu but not on Kauai (Yet)
· Might be easier to conceal and traffic drugs between the islands in cars
· Pests like Fire Ants that live on one island may spread more easily to others
· Spread of invasive plants like Miconia.
· Military uses. Few people want more heavy armored vehicles on the roads or off road.
Here are some videos of the protests on Youtube.
The two things that Hawaii has going for it is the unique culture and natural beauty. The people of Hawaii want to preserve those two things the best they can.
It is just my opinion, but I don’t think that more hotels, freeways and ferries will improve your experience as a visitor or my experience as a resident very much. It would be handy in some situations but we could live without it if we wanted to.
It’s just one of those things that has advantages and disadvantages. It will be interesting to see what happens.
A big mahalo to Dave for helping us to understand the resident’s perspective! I think it is fascinating. What do you think?