KAPOLEI (KHNL ) - A decline in Hawaii's tourism industry is clearly having a ripple effect on many businesses, and that includes a tall-ship replica that recently sailed to our islands.
Docked at Ko Olina Harbor, the America's Privateer Lynx awaits passengers to climb on board. The 122-foot-long ship is in Hawaiian waters after finishing the Transpac Race. Tour sales have sunk 25-to-30 percent since its last visit in 2007.
"We're always concerned, we're a not-profit foundation and of course we're always concerned about income. Especially now, these are tough times and we've had a lot of cut backs," said Lynx Captain Craig Chipman.
On board, it's more than just a sightseeing tour. Passengers help crew members set sail. The work can be hard but for some, it's a unique experience worth the 75-dollar ticket.
"I've been telling a lot of my friends about it, so whenever they come out they're going to do it if they come around again," said visitor Tierney Zubek.
The Lynx can carry as many as 49 people on board; only a couple dozen made it out on Wednesday's voyage from Ko Olina.
"It's critical for us to do what we can to get people out on the boat and to make sure they have a wonderful time and tell all their friends," said crew member Holly Culing.
While non-profit foundations like the America's Privateer Lynx try to navigate through this tough economic climate, locals and tourists alike hope it can weather the storm and continue its visits to the islands.
"Kids and adults alike can learn a lot from things like this and if you have to make cuts so be it but it shouldn't be on things like this. This is way too important and a lot of fun," said visitor Chuck Blackledge.