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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, December 14, 2007

Some queasy, some easy in rough seas

 •  Hawaii Superferry's arrival stays calm

By Dan Nakaso
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Superferry crew members helped a passenger suffering from motion sickness yesterday to a place where he would be able to lie down.

GREGORY YAMAMOTO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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ABOARD THE HAWAII SUPERFERRY Maccine Carter spent more than three hours vomiting aboard the Hawaii Superferry yesterday on the final day of her Hawai'i vacation and still enjoyed her trip from O'ahu to Maui.

"I was sick the whole time," Carter said after going through several motion sickness bags in the front, deluxe Hahalua Lounge cabin of the 350-foot ship Alakai. "There was a lot of choppy water. But it was my last day and I wanted to see Maui. It was beautiful from what I saw."

Carter, a paralegal from New York City, had no hesitation about getting back aboard the Alakai later yesterday for the return voyage to O'ahu.

The Alakai pushed away from Honolulu Harbor's Pier 19 at 6:43 a.m. and set sail less than a quarter full with 190 passengers and 60 vehicles taking up space designed to hold a maximum of 866 people and 282 cars and trucks.

Passengers seated in the main cabin and the Surf Break Lanai paid a special discounted, one-way fare of $29 per person and $55 per vehicle good through Thursday. Passengers like Carter paid an additional $20 to sit up front in the Hahalua Lounge.

Beginning Dec. 21, one-way passenger rates go up to $39 for the main cabins.

The wind was whipping and the seas were bumpy as the Alakai bucked and bounced and rocked and rolled across the Ka'iwi Channel to Maui's Kahului Harbor.


The National Weather Service posted small-craft advisories for all channels between O'ahu and Maui with winds estimated at 25 knots or 37 mph and wind waves of 9 feet.

Veteran harbor pilot Ed Enos said the weather and wave heights are typical for Hawaiian waters this time of year.

Yesterday there were Superferry customers who didn't get hit with nausea and enjoyed their trip that much more.

Marlene Daley, a property manager from Mililani, brought her 14-year-old daughter, Alexandria, onboard for a state-wide club swim meet in Kihei that begins today.

Driving on their 2002 GMC Yukon meant "we could pack all of our coolers and our swim gear instead of trying to lug it onboard an airplane," Marlene said.

Over hot chocolate and blueberry scones, mother and daughter sat in the rear of the Alakai looking forward to Alexandria's first trip at sea.

"It's a nice way to see our Islands and relax with no hustle and bustle," Marlene said.

During the cruise, passengers all around them were vomiting and received Marlene's sympathy.

"I'm sad that everybody got sick," she said. "Not us. We had a nice time. It was a nice ride even with the water conditions."

At least 25 passengers all over the Alakai were openly vomiting, said Superferry cabinet attendant Leeann Toro, who passed out barf bags as if they were candy on Halloween.

One passenger in the Hahalua Lounge was in so much misery that he had to be carried and dragged off to a first-aid area to lie down, Toro said.

Several more passengers splayed themselves out across empty seats looking for relief from the nausea.

"There's usually more than that," Toro said. "But there were definitely a lot of sick people."

Even Superferry steward Margi Simonson fell at one point during all of the rocking.

"I need to get my legs," she said. "I haven't done a sail since August. This one was rough."

The Alakai was 13 minutes behind schedule when it pulled out of Pier 19 but arrived 10 minutes early because the captain chose to bypass the summer route between Lanai and Moloka'i that takes the ship through the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, requiring it to slow to 25 knots.

Instead, the captain zipped around the northeastern edge of Moloka'i at 34 to 35 knots, said John Garibaldi, the Superferry's president and CEO.

"Either way," Garibaldi said, "it's a great cruise with great views."


Even three Superferry protesters who paid their way as passengers got sick on the cruise.

Hale Mawae of Anahola, Kaua'i, couldn't make his way to the bathroom in time and vomited all over the Superferry's wooden floor passageway. His cruisemates, Katy Rose and Andrea Brower, also of Kaua'i, vomited as well.

"I definitely used some of those bags," Rose said. Added Brower, "I don't get seasick and I got sick."

As the Alakai pulled into Kahului Harbor, Rose and Brower quickly pulled on T-shirts that read "EIS First."

All three then hung a 14-by-16-foot banner from the starboard side of the Alakai that read "Ua mau ke ea o ka 'aina i ka pono?" The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.

"Does the state really respect its own state motto?" Mawae asked. "Our message still hasn't been heard by the government."

An Alakai crew member quickly took down the banner and handed it back to the women.

"He was cool about the whole thing," Brower said. "We hugged him and told him mahalo when we left."

Reach Dan Nakaso at dnakaso@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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