Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Superferry in San Francisco?

Jeff over at the Beat of Hawaii and Beyond: Travel... - travel blog had the following post today: Hawaii Inter-Island Update: Superferry and Mokulele. It's interesting that there are now at least 3 interisland airlines that have fares equal to HSF and better travel time convenience. Plus the interior of those new Mokulele planes looks really comfy. The only question is whether you really need to take your car with you...or not.

Also, today a friend of a friend wrote a review of the book in the "Hawaii Insider" section of the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Superferry in San Francisco"
Jeanne Cooper December 09 2008

"The Hawaii Superferry is coming to San Francisco -- sort of -- thanks in part to three people with Bay Area ties. Jerry Mander, the founder of the International Forum on Globalization, based in San Francisco, will read from his newly published book, "The Superferry Chronicles," at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 at City Lights book store. Co-authored with filmmaker and former San Francisco Slow Food leader Koohan Paik, now of Kauai, "The Superferry Chronicles" comes from Koa Books, a progressive press founded by former Bay Area publisher Arnie Kotler.

Hawaii Insider hasn't had a chance to read the book yet, but its subtitle gives a pretty good indication of its point of view: "Hawaii's Uprising Against Militarism, Commercialism, and the Desecration of the Earth." As Kotler describes it, "The book is a thorough investigation of the Hawaii Superferry from the initial idea in 2001 to today, highlighting the Kauai harbor protests in August 2007 to the subsequent gathering there with Governor Lingle, filled with moving testimonies from all segments of the community, and concluding that environmental concerns have been trumped by political ambition."

The Superferry currently operates between Honolulu and Kahului, Maui. Plans to link Oahu and Kauai are currently on hold, while the introduction of service to the Big Island on a second craft was recently delayed for another year, to 2010. The company, which offers an online list of its preventive measures to minimize damage to marine life and local environments, has strenuously defended its goal of offering interisland ferry service for passengers and vehicles as an alternative to air travel. The ferry makes two crossings a day between Oahu and Maui (it's adding a third for Dec. 23 and Dec. 30), with adult fares starting at $49 each way and $65 for vehicles.

It's interesting to note that here on the Garden Island, where Hawaii Insider is currently visiting, there's almost as much concern about the potential behavior of Oahu residents coming in droves over to Kauai as there is about the environmental impact of the ship itself. With natural resources such as 'opihi (a seafood delicacy pried off reefs) and maile (a fragrant vine used for leis) in high demand and increasingly shorter supply on Oahu, some Kauaians worry that their island could become truly "easy pickings."

Publisher Arnie Kotler lives on Maui, where the start of Superferry service was also marked by rough seas, legally and literally. He has deep Bay Area ties, telling Hawaii Insider he lived in the Bay Area for three decades, as a graduate student at UC Berkeley, "practitioner at San Francisco Zen Center" and eventually publisher of a small press based in Albany called Parallax. In 1999, Kotler says, he and his wife moved to North Kohala on the Big Island to help start a retreat center, and then to the Valley Isle in 2004. The following year, he founded Koa Books, to publish works on "progressive politics, personal transformation and native cultures." (One recent title, "Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace," edited by Maxine Hong Kingston, won the 2007 Northern California Book Reviewers Special Award in Publishing.)

Current Hawaii-themed Koa Books titles in the works include "Hawaii Knowing" by University of Hawaii professor Manulani Aluli Meyer, an examination of Hawaiian epistemology (physical, spiritual and relational ways of experiencing the world); a revised edition of Tom Coffman's 1998 "Nation Within: America's Conquest of Hawai'i," about the overthrow and annexation of the islands; and a collection of short stories by playwright Wayne Moniz called 'Under Maui Skies.'"

Aloha, Brad

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