Support for the Molokai Ferry is gaining momentum as news agencies inform the public on the unrealistic mandates of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Currently, the ferry is operating twice as often as it can afford to, thanks to near empty ridership on certain trips. Competition from airlines is reducing passengers, yet the ferry is still required to provide trips, regardless of how few passengers there are. Fuel is expensive, and a lot is needed get the ferry back and forth between Maui and Molokai. When the ferry is nearly empty, passenger tickets don't come close to covering fuel costs.

Fortunately, a growing number of concerned citizens have shown their support by signing the Molokai Ferry petition to schedule trips on an as-needed basis. To keep the ferry in operation, we hope you will take a moment to sign, if you haven't yet had the chance.

Senator Roz Baker supports the ferry's need to reduce trips, and recently appeared in an interview with KITV4, where she made the following statement:

"I think what we're hoping to do and what I'm wanting to assist them, is to be as needed on demand kind of carrier, so that when the athletic groups, the hula groups, other folks need to come over and it's enough to warrant a ferry, then maybe that's going to work."

The groups that she mentioned are among the many who benefit from the service the ferry provides. Air travel may be more convenient for some, but not those who have substantial luggage. If the ferry can no longer afford to operate, the lives of many Maui County residents will be affected.

We're glad to see that the ferry's request is gaining more and more support within the community. Hopefully, this support will help us achieve our goal for a realistic schedule that will be cost effective enough to keep the ferry in operation and will continue to help Molokai and Maui residents and visitors travel conveniently between our islands.

Do you enjoy having the freedom to travel by boat to the destination of your choice? Do you like having many different options to choose from, when it comes to travel? Whether you're a Maui vacationer or resident, we strive to make your experience with us a pure joy. One of our wonderful services is the Molokai Ferry, which allows travel between Maui and Molokai on a regular basis. The ferry is convenient if you're a resident who needs to get back and forth to visit friends and family, or if you're visiting Maui and you want to make a day trip to explore Molokai and broaden your vacation experience. Maybe you've taken the ferry, and you already love the opportunity it provides. Maybe you haven't yet, but who knows? You might some day! That is, if we can weather the storm that the ferry is facing.

By storm, we mean the mandates from government agencies that force the ferry to operate too frequently. This might not sound so bad at first, but the reality is that the ferry is nearly empty on some of its trips, yet every single one comes with a cost. Think of all the fuel and all the time that is wasted this way. Think of the unnecessary wear and tear on the ferry. Think of all the little immeasurable impacts of such trips, and how they add up. Imagine being overworked and underfed, because financially speaking, those are the consequences of these mandates for the Molokai Ferry. To make things more difficult, the government established these demands while providing insufficient subsidies. Because of its ongoing financial strain, the ferry is facing bankruptcy. What good will these mandates be when there is no ferry left because of them?

If nothing changes, you will lose your choice to take a ferry between Maui and Molokai. If you want to protect this choice, there is something you can do. In this kind of situation, you might expect us to request money in the form of a donation, but fortunately all you need to do to help is sign this Molokai Ferry petition.

The petition asks for just one thing: that the Molokai Ferry provide as many trips as the community needs, no more, no less. There are unpopular time slots that can be removed from the schedule, and if we can do that, we can keep the ferry not just afloat but thriving! All that the Molokai Ferry needs is your kokua. If you're not familiar, that is Hawaiian for cooperation and help. If you are willing to share the petition with friends and family, then so much the better!

The Molokai Ferry has been in operation since 1987. Throughout those years, it has been a great asset to the community, and a lifeline for Molokai residents who come to Maui for goods and services that they can't get at home. Sign the petition and you will be protecting the economy, the environment, the jobs of the ferry workers, and our choice– your choice to travel by ferry between Maui and Molokai. Mahalo for your kokua!

This week, we'd like to highlight some of the exciting efforts of the Cascadia Research Collective, one of the organizations that our Maui ecotourism business supports. Founded in 1979, this extraordinary non-profit specializes in scientific research and education, with a focus on marine life.

Earlier this month, Cascadia undertook a 7-day field project from Kawaihae, on the Big Island. They chose this location to help them explore further north of the island than usual, where they hoped to get higher sighting rates of two species in particular. These were the false killer whale and the melon-headed whale. Their primary goal was to get LIMPET satellite tags on members of both species, along with any other types of whales and dolphins they encountered.

Satellite tracking is an extremely effective way to collect data on all species, but especially those with migration patterns and broad habitat ranges. They can tell us many things, including where individuals spend the majority of their time, when they are most active, whether their movement patterns are consistent, and can also be helpful in discovering where and how they reach the end of their lives. All this information can help with crucial government policy decisions, conservation efforts, and the education of the public.

Cascadia's efforts were fruitful on this trip, which began on May 31st. They encountered a group of false killer whales, which was the rarest out of three groups that comprise the endangered main Hawaiian Islands population. The group had last been seen in August of 2011, and just a couple of individuals had been spotted since May or 2013, so you can imagine their excitement at this rediscovery. Cascadia's team was able to tag three of the individuals from this group, which was a triumph because none of them had been tagged before, so no one knew where they spent their time. Now they can begin to unravel that mystery.

The team also encountered the melon-headed whales that they were hoping to find. These came from the Kohala Resident population, which is believed to include less than 500 individuals. This encounter was their first with the Kohala Resident population since May 2013. They were able to photo-identify about 100 of the individuals that they encountered out of about 175 that were present at the time. One individual was tagged.

Some of the other species they encountered were short-finned pilot whales, rough-toothed dolphins, and a beautiful whale shark. Cascadia documented their experience with some amazing photos. You can take a look and read more in-depth notes about their journey at www.cascadiaresearch.org. We are proud to support their incredible work through our Maui cruise activities. If you love marine life, just remember that booking one of our cruises will not only provide you with an amazing experience in the beautiful blue Pacific waters of Hawaii, but will also contribute to some of the research pillars in our scientific community. We hope you've enjoyed this entry! Mahalo!

Molokini is a tiny crescent shaped island off Maui's South Shore. Its protective arms encircle a flourishing reef below the surface, blanketing the ocean floor. The reef is home to a teeming array of fascinating marine species too numerous to count. Thanks to the lack of any nearby sandy beaches, you'll find the visibility is especially clear, particularly early in the mornings when the weather is calm. If this sounds like an underwater world that you'd like to explore, we have just the excursion for you and your group.

Climb aboard the Lahaina Princess for a breezy cruise out to Molokini. A boat ride is the only way to get to this amazing spot, and the sights are marvelous along the way. You'll have pristine ocean as far as the eye can see, complimented by the majestic mountains of Maui and Kaho'olawe. As for little Molokini, what remains of its former mountainous glory is the very top of an ancient volcanic caldera. There's no climbing onto the island, as any seabirds living there are protected by the law, but aside from that, it would be difficult to get far thanks to the vertical orientation of the land.

Molokini's crescent shape protects not only the coral and marine life that make their home there, but also the boats, snorkelers and scuba divers who come to witness its remarkable seascapes. The waters inside the crescent are shielded from both wind and waves, making the area a tranquil sanctuary that is unique in the world.

Our Molokini Snorkel Tours depart from the scenic Lahaina Harbor, which is especially convenient for those of you whose accommodations are on this side of the island. If you're coming from South Maui, we recommend that you plan for an hour of driving to ensure you arrive on time. If you're staying in West Maui, we offer exclusive courtesy bus service to and from several of the vacation accommodations in the area, including all Kaanapali Beach Resorts.

This activity is fantastic for families, romantic outings, and all adventurous groups who enjoy getting out in the water to see the splendors of Hawaii's marine ecosystem. If you have any questions, or you'd like to purchase tickets, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo for reading this week, and we look forward to seeing you out on the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean with us soon!