It's been an interesting six years

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (10/02/99)
By Ray Pendleton

One of the great fringe benefits of writing this column for six-plus years has been meeting so many of the interesting personalities involved with our maritime community.

A big mahalo should then go to the Star-Bulletin for providing me - and you Water Ways readers - the opportunity of getting to know people like:

  • Peter Fithian, the founder of the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament. With the inauguration of that annual tournament 40 years ago, he and a few friends made the Big Island's Kailua-Kona the world-renown sport fishing resort that it is today.

  • Dr. Craig MacDonald of the Ocean Research Branch of the state's Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, who, when I first met him in May of 1993, was one of Hawaii's most vocal proponents of its ocean recreation industry. Thankfully, he still is.

  • Charles Coleman, author of the book, "Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! This is the Haleakala." His gripping tale of being shipwrecked at sea, and how he was rescued, should be required reading for anyone who takes a boat off shore.

  • Al Bento, veteran marlin fisherman, who gave me the best fishing story I've ever heard, after boating his first "grander" (a marlin over 1,000 pounds) after more than 40 years of trying.

  • Jack Sutherland, vice-president of Sea-Land Service, Hawaii, who five years ago, began a much needed sponsorship program for many of Hawaii's sailing regattas and fishing tournaments with cash funding and in-kind services.

  • Dr. Marc Miller, a cultural anthropologist working with the Pacific Ocean Research Foundation, who has been studying the cultural values of fishing, and how to view our fisheries in human terms.

  • Robin Johl, a Canadian woman who has fought a four-year, up-stream battle to host world-class rowing regattas, called the Royal Hawaiian Rowing Challenge, on the Ala Wai Canal.

  • John Kolius, Hawaii's America's Cup skipper, who at this moment is tuning up Abracadabra 2000 in New Zealand for the challenger competition.

  • Senator Les Ihara, who has done more to promote the cleanup of the Ala Wai Canal than any other state politician I am aware of.

  • Cy Gillette, Herreshoff Trophy winner, who has forgotten more about sailing than most people will ever know.

  • Brian "BJ" Caldwell, the McKinley High graduate who, in 1995-96, sailed around the world alone on his 26-foot sloop before his 21st birthday.

  • Bill Klimpl, a Waikiki Yacht Club member who, for over a decade, has been teaching blind people how to sail, for free.

  • Jim Sullivan, another young circumnavigator who is on a "humanistic voyage" designed to establish worldwide friendships in person and through his web site.

  • Captain William "Swede" Jenson, a Pearl Harbor survivor I had the great honor of escorting to his first visit of the Arizona Memorial.

  • Doug Vann, sailor and web master, who made his final passage this summer, but will always be remembered.

As you can probably guess the list goes on and on. But my space is limited, so like an iceberg, you get to see just the tip. And I'm sure there will be more in the future, if I can just find someone to pick up this column...

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