How to entertain children on a Sunday morning?
On Sept. 16 a lot of people went to greet Melissa Ann, the
City and County of Honolulu’s new alternative to TheBus,
TheBoat, connecting Honolulu to Kapolei.
The ferry Melissa Ann was docked at Pier 9 of Aloha Tower Marketplace,
its regular mooring, for an open house that lasted from 10 a.m.
to 2:30 p.m.
Visitors could explore the ferry and experience firsthand all of the TheBoat’s
amenities. Cookies, free balloons, route maps, and schedules were handed out,
and representatives from TheBoat were available to answer questions.
Melissa Ann and Rachel Marie, both 72-foot long double-decker catamarans, service
the island Monday through Friday from Kalaeloa and Aloha Tower, for a one-hour
journey. Bikes are allowed.
At Kalaeloa, shuttles complement the seafaring service, connecting the docks
to busses directed to main leeward destinations.
Tom Dougherty, former ferry captain in San Francisco and now one of the captains
for TheBoat, explained that people going to Honolulu can park their cars at Kapolei
Theaters and catch a shuttle to their boat ride at Kalaeloa.
At both ends, TheBoat ride fare is integrated into the TheBus system. Any form
of payment supported by TheBus can be used on TheBoat, and one $2 fare covers
boat round trip.
Dougherty is confident of TheBoat’s success because the municipal project
has been receiving positive feedback from the public.
Patty Hustace, a Kapolei resident who came into town to see the Melissa Ann,
said she would not necessarily ride the TheBoat daily, yet she’s excited
about it. “I want to do the round trip,” she said, adding “I
find it a great idea. Anything against the traffic.”
The Melissa Ann features 149 cushioned seats, some accompanied by sleek wooden
tables. The first floor has a bar, so commuters have the choice of eating breakfast
while finishing up last minute work or relaxing while sipping coffee, all in
air conditioned cabins.
TheBoat is also a fun tourist attraction, allowing visitors to see Leeward O‘ahu
from a different perspective. Like regular passengers, they can feel the ocean
wind brushing their hair just by sitting on the upper deck. The seats are not
cushioned, but they are comfortable.
For more information, visit trytheboat.com or call TheBoat at (808) 848-5555.