By Brooks Baehr - bio | email
KANEOHE (HawaiiNewsNow) – "It's wonderful." That is how Pearl City resident Linda Odell described the new mellow mood at the sandbar in Kaneohe Bay.
"There's kind of more like a family oriented holiday which is what I like," Odell added.
The board of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources instituted new "emergency" rules banning alcohol, intoxication, and disorderly conduct at the sandbar on the three day Fourth of July weekend and Labor Day weekend. The prohibition came in response to rowdy alcohol fueled parties at the sandbar during three day holiday weekends.
Drunkenness has contributed to fist fights. On Memorial Day a confrontation at the sandbar involving alcohol ended with a fight in which a Kaneohe man was killed.
Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers patrolled the bay by boat and thrill craft throughout the weekend. They issued two citations for alcohol violations on Saturday and a third citation on Monday.
The crowd Monday was much smaller than it has been on other holidays. Between 40 and 60 boats visited the sandbar Monday. There have been as many as 200 boats in the past.
"It's been really quiet … really nice. DLNR has been unaggresive, been real cordial to people, and it seems to be working out," said sandbar regular Lee Williams.
"The mood today is a mood of cooperation, that's what it's been like yesterday and before," said Randy Awo, Acting DOECARE Division Chief.
Most of the people at the sandbar who spoke with Hawaii News Now said the prohibition improved the atmosphere, but a few said it ruined the party.
"I don't think it's good, because it is really empty out here. There should be ten times more boats out here, ten times more people. Now it feels like a little family resort," said Sean Ie, a boater who said he has been to the sandbar many times.