The SuperFerry Sails On

(AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
I thought I'd deliver some good news, for a change, on the Hawaii Superferry, which runs from Oahu to Maui and back and is the first regularly scheduled ferry service between the islands. As readers of this space will remember, the launching of this ferry last year was anything but super, as environmentalists and island activists stopped the boats in their tracks with a barrage of complaints and legal challenges. The Maui service was started, stopped, and then started again only after clearing the Hawaii Supreme Court. A similar ferry passage to Kauai was stopped altogether after activists physically barred the first boats from landing on the island by blocking entrance to Nawiliwili harbor with their surfboards and outrigger canoes. The Superferry people are still trying to figure out how to successfully – not to mention peacefully – sail to Kauai.

The Maui run, however, just celebrated its 400th voyage and 125,000th passenger, putting it right up there with Captain Andy's Sailing Adventures as a local sailing success story. The 800-passenger Superferry, which also accommodates 200 passenger cars, makes a round-trip run from Oahu's ferry terminal – which is not downtown but off Nimitz Highway near the Dole Cannery Shops – to Maui's Kahului Harbor every morning, and does another round-trip four afternoons and evenings a week. One-way fares through the end of October are $59 for adults and $49 for children, plus $65 for a car.

The passage takes about three hours. Nice, if you like a good boat ride and want to avoid the hassle and congestion of flying. The fares may jump up in November after the Superferry passes its inaugural period (and once those court bills come due to the company), but for now, it's a good price for one of the few new travel experiences in the islands.