Blind visitors to Hawaii go sight-seeing

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A vacation to Hawaii, for many, is an unforgettable experience.

One group of people is hoping theirs will be that as well. They're here to take in the sights, all the sights. Which would be a challenge for anyone, but especially difficult because these visitors can't see at all.

Hawaii is a draw to millions around the world, because of the scenic sights, unspoiled landscapes and natural beauty. Now, along with the thousands of other visitors arriving in the islands, a special group of guests is here to experience all Hawaii has to offer. Even though they can't see a thing.

"They're going to absorb thru touch, and sensation. They are going to hear the sounds of the ocean and taste the great food," said Marsha Schuman, with Damar Travel and Cruise.

"The idea of being here, the culture and the people. You can sense the beauty of it even without your eyesight," said Paul Morline, a Florida resident, who is blind.

These special visitors first experience the smell of Hawaii with a lei greeting.

Then they and their guide dogs climb board the Pride of America for a weeklong cruise around the islands with stops at all the usual highlights.

Brought to life by experienced narrators.

"People who are able to describe the area and history, and are very good at painting a picture, in words, to feel what you're feeling thru your eyes," added Morline.

Paul and Rosie Morline, were both born with vision, but lost their eyesight over 30 years ago. That hasn't stopped them from seeing the world on cruise vacations and they have longed to come to Hawaii.

It is that undefeated spirit from all of these visitors that has in turn inspired their sighted guide to "see" what is really important.

"Blind people see so much with their hearts and they feel so much. They hear and they are so capable in everything. I have learned so much, I am so grateful for what the blind taught me, every day. It makes me feel more appreciative to be alive, and to not let the little things get in the way," said Schuman.

This group really has travelled the world, in past years, they have gone to South America, the Caribbean, even to the Vatican.