Residents stop luxury yacht from visiting Molokai
KAUNAKAKAI, MOLOKAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A yacht was blocked from docking at a Molokai harbor Friday.
A group of residents and activists told the vessel's crew they would receive no aloha from the Friendly Isle.
"All I saw was a possible threat," said Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte.
"We want to protect this space," Loretta Ritte said.
It's unclear whether those on the $195 million yacht wanted to dock or moor in Kaunakakai.
But they were quickly turned away.
"We're too small to have something as big as this. Especially if it's someone who has a lot of power because they have a lot of money," said Loretta.
The Rittes said it wasn't a planned protest, rather a spontaneous gathering when residents saw the 350-foot yacht heading for Kaunakakai Harbor.
They said about a dozen Molokai residents showed up along with police. A fellow Molokai resident was communicating with the yacht's crew through a walkie talkie. They said they made their message very clear.
"We want to keep Molokai, Molokai. The Molokai where we still can go out and not be afraid. We don't have to lock our doors, our cars, we can let our kids go out. So I think that's what we're trying to protect, the lifestyle of Molokai," said Loretta.
"We're a small community. Anyone with that kind of money to buy such a cruise ship could come here and take control of the whole island," Walter said.
The Rittes said they have nothing against visitors on the Friendly Isle.
They said Molokai residents are just very sensitive about large ships and potential large influxes of tourists.
"I think the threat was just the presence of this large ship there and being able to come and go as it pleased. And just being afraid that other ships could set precedents for more ships to come in," said Loretta.
Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.