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Pacific Whale Foundation blesses new vessel, Ocean Guardian, in Maalaea

The Pacific Whale Foundation’s new vessel, Ocean Guardian, had its maiden cruise on March 24. It is outfitted with eco-friendly and whale-protection equipment. Pacific Whale Foundation photo

The Pacific Whale Foundation held a traditional blessing ceremony last month for its newest vessel, Ocean Guar-dian, at Maalaea Harbor.

The vessel is an “ultra-smooth power catamaran with 149-passenger capacity,” an announcement says. “The state-of-the-art vessel has two decks, shaded stadium seating on the bow, an aft viewing area dubbed the ‘selfie-station,’ aluminum cafe seating throughout, plus Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ‘heads’ or restrooms.”

Capt. Doug Hunt said an exciting feature of the vessel is its toggle steering.

“This allows us to steer the ship from two wing helms, in addition to the pilothouse,” he said.

Ocean Guardian’s eco-friendly features include its energy-efficient, low-emissions tier 3 engines. It’s also outfitted with whale-protection devices that guide whales away from propellers and running gear.

The vessel joins PacWhale Eco-Adventures operations in conducting whale-watching tours as well as snorkeling trips. The vessel is outfitted with a submersible snorkel platform, hot freshwater showers and two stainless steel barbecue grills for onboard, chef-prepared lunches.

Its maiden cruise was on March 24.

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