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Tour companies host free sightseeing event at Kikialoa Small Boat Harbor

KEKAHA — Tour companies at Kikialoa Small Boat Harbor gave free Napali Coast sightseeing tours to more than 200 Kaua‘i residents on Wednesday, July 26, launching what organizers say will be an annual event for locals.

“This is amazing. Amazing day for everyone, for our local people just to understand that we are here for them as well,” said Josh Helman, who owns Kaua‘i Sea Riders, before getting underway early Wednesday morning.

“And this is going to be a yearly thing to allow our kama‘aina to enjoy the Napali Coast,” he added.

Ten tour companies joined forces to host the inaugural event in an effort to thank those who supported the veto of House Bill 1090, which would have
allowed the state Department of Natural Resources (DLNR) to reduce commercial boating operations due to complaints of overuse of the state’s harbors and nearby public facilities.

“It’s good to give back to the community, bring the community together,” said Maka Kanahele, a captain with Blue Ocean Adventures, minutes before taking a group out on a raft.

Event attendee Kim Evans, who was born and raised on Kaua‘i, spoke with The Garden Island just before leaving the harbor for a tour with Blue Ocean Adventures.

“I thought it was really nice,” she said of the event. “(The tour companies) didn’t have to do that. But they did it as a sign of gratitude for everybody who helped with that bill, so I thought it was really awesome.”

Ashleigh Remigio, another event attendee, was also grateful for the free tour.

“This is amazing. I mean, when we heard about it, we were all about it,” said Remigio, who was joined by three friends.

“And we’re trying to get all our other friends to come because it’s not too often that we get to do this for free. It’s kind of pricey normally,” she added.

Nick Croft, who runs Explore Kaua‘i Scuba, said that shared concerns about the bill prompted the boating companies to work together and create the free day.

“All these different companies who are kind of rivals and everything, we’ve all gotten tighter and more friendly,” Croft said.

“It’s a pretty cool thing. Good turnout, more people showing up and everyone looks excited,” he added, before taking a group that included state Rep. Luke Evslin (D-District 16) on a snorkeling tour.

House Majority Leader Dee Morikawa (D-District 17) of Kaua‘i was also at the event on Wednesday, having been invited by operators. But Morikawa emphasized that she was going on a tour to check the state’s harbors and look at capacity issues.

“I’m here to assess,” said Morikawa, noting that she last saw the Napali Coast by helicopter over 20 years ago.

“I want to check out what it’s like out there, and if there’s any effect on the natural resources, because that seems to be the big problem at the DLNR right now. They’re saying that capacity might be ruining the natural resource, so I’ll go and check it out,” she added.


Emma Grunwald, reporter, can be reached 808-652-0638 or
Source: The Garden Island

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