In anticipation of a busy day, I lingered on my walk this morning, heading a couple of miles mauka so Koko could run loose and burn off extra energy and I could admire the dark red of ohia blossoms and the silvery foliage of kukui trees in a stream-fed valley.
The sun was slow to shake off the clouds that clung to it as it rose, but it finally broke through — exposing itself as a burning orange ball — and the slopes of Makaleha and Waialeale blushed.
That’s my version of the “breakfast of champions,” because a big dose of nature sustains me for hours in the cyber realm, where I discovered that the Superferry Oversight Task Force — excuse me, it’s official name is Hawaii Inter-Island Large Capacity Ferry Vessel-Oversight Task Force — met yesterday in Honolulu.
A quick check of the two Honolulu dailies failed to turn up any report of the meeting, which apparently they don’t routinely cover, so I called one of Kauai’s reps, Dennis Chun, and asked if the issue of damages during drydocking came up.
“Yes,” he said, “it came up because we asked. Oh, what a comedy of errors. I was like, what? When they were taking it to dry dock, a boat ran into it and put a big puka in it. Then in drydock, the keel was all damaged because they blocked it wrong.
“And because other companies were involved, there’s all this litigation going on, guys are suing each other. So that’s why they haven’t said in public what actually happened, because it’s still under investigation, and the Coast Guard is involved in it, too.”
Wonder how long it take to get that all sorted out. Perhaps as long as it will take to get the report from the State Auditor, or to complete the EIS, which it seems has been delayed by the drydocking.
Dennis reported that “the rapid risk assessment was begun, but it can’t be completed because the ferry isn’t running, so that report won’t be done till May or June, which will set back the EIS.”
Oh, what a comedy of errors indeed.
Meanwhile, according to a letter to the Maui News reprinted on the Hawaii Superferry unofficial blog, the Alakai uses 6,942 gallons of marine diesel per trip, 13,900 round trip, 97,300 gallons a week, 417,000 gallons monthly. Three hundred sixty-five round trips from Oahu to Maui use over 5 million gallons, which at $3.50 per gallon equals $17,500,000 annually.
That’s $17.5 million, in case you’re not good with zeros, and a fill-up of 56,800 gallons costs the company nearly $200,000.
I mention this because The Advertiser reported today that Gas prices at the pump rose overnight to a record national average of $3.2272 a gallon. Where oil goes from here is anybody's guess. Many analysts expect prices to moderate, while others predict oil could keep rising to $120 a barrel, or higher.”
So how, one wonders, will the Superferry ever be able to make a go of it as fuel prices continue to rise and it was already floundering with bargain fares?
As Maui resident Dick Mayer noted in email:
Of course they [HSF] were expecting to have their "fuel surcharge," so that there would be NO additional expenses if fuel prices rose. Ala[s], they rose and they are operating w/o the surcharge until May/June when their prices will skyrocket as they are trying to win back a clientele. Let's see if they get more customers with $76 fares and a low summertime "barf-o-meter" rating.
Yes, let’s see. But first, they’ve got to get out of drydock without incurring any more damage. This comedy of errors isn’t nearly over yet.