Trespass Issue Surfaces in Swim from Kahoolawe to Maui
By Wendy Osher
Australian swimmers Chris and Penny Palrey, who reportedly completed a swim of the Alalakeiki Channel from Kaho`olawe to Maui over the weekend, did not receive permission to enter the Kaho`olawe Island Reserve.
The incident, which took place on Saturday, March 5th, could result in fines of $1,000 each and/or imprisonment of thirty days, if they are found in violation.
According to the couple’s website, the two started the seven-mile swim from Ule Point on the north east side of Kaho`olawe where “schools of pelagic fish” greeted them “next to a sheer 200 foot wall drop off.” The couple received regular stings from jelly fish on their more than five hour journey.
The Kaho`olawe Island Reserve includes the entire island of Kaho`olawe, and approximately two-miles of its surrounding waters. The island, which was once used as a military bombing range, was returned to the state in 1994 and set aside as a reserve. In addition to the large amounts of unexploded ordnance, there is also a significant amount of cultural and natural resources that are protected under the commission. Access to the reserve is strictly regulated to protect both public safety and resources of the island.
Under reserve rules, vessel owners could be subject to even steeper administrative penalties of up to $10,000 for a first violation and $5,000 for each natural resource, including aquatic life, taken from the Reserve.
The swim was the first of four being attempted by the couple. The next challenge is the Molokai channel crossing, which could happen tomorrow, according to the couple’s website, pending weather conditions.