By Wendy Osher
A group of residents on Molokai plan to hold another protest this weekend in demonstration against a cruise ship company planning port calls on the island.
There are four more inter-island trips planned between now and the end of the year by the American Safari Cruises company, according to the company’s booking website.
The Molokai leg of the cruise is on day three and four of the eight-day adventure, with a stop at Kaunakaki Harbor and hands-on activities at Halawa Valley. The booking website encourages customers to “meet the people of Molokai and experience their land and traditions as few visitors ever do.”
Protest organizers say, “it will be the beginning of the end for the island’s rural lifestyle” if the Safari Explorer is allowed to come to Molokai without proper community process.
“We must demand community participation in the decisions over tourism on Molokai, and not let a few business people control tourism for their personal benefits,” said Molokai resident Walter Ritte in an email communication issued prior to a similar protest earlier this month.
American Safari Cruises promotes its journey as “an un-cruise experience” with voyages that combine upscale cruising with adventurous activities.
The Molokai activities include hiking or hiding a mule on the switchbacks of the Kalaupapa Trail; visiting plumeria and macadamia nut farms; hiking with a local resident to a hideaway waterfall at Halawa Valley; restoring taro terraces; helping ready poi for an evening pa’ina; and spending leisure time in the charming paniolo town of Kaunakakai.
The Molokai visit also includes an evening talking story with a local guest and enjoying the pa’ina with hula and a Hawaiian music.
The protest, which is the third of its kind, is planned for 6 a.m. on Saturday, November 26, 2011 at Kaunakakai Wharf.