Last week Trilogy had the great opportunity to lead a group of students from Seabury Hall on a four day Winterim.
... A couple weeks after Nepal’s 8.1 magnitude quake, a past web-designer for Trilogy, Mitch Silver from Kula, asked for Trilogy’s help to fund a nonprofit that provides immediate food supply, medical relief and rebuilding efforts in Nepal, called #WeHelpNepal. We jumped at the opportunity, hosting a special Captains Sunset Dinner Sail fundraiser on May 22nd.
It was 1993 when Captains Jim and Randy Coon decided to do more for the island of Lana'i. The population of the island was about 1,500 people, Trilogy had been running sailing trips to Lanai for the better part of 20 years, and even with the construction of the new resorts, the small community continued to tick along at about the same pace that a pineapple grows (which is very, very slowly).
20 years later, the island of Lana'i has seen many changes including a swap in ownership and a rise in population. Even though the island now houses close to 3,500 people, the Trilogy family is still dedicated to putting food on the table each Thanksgiving.
Partnering with the Maui Food and Lodging Association who provided over 900 bags of rice, Trilogy handed out over 1,000 turkeys for residents and families on Lana'i. To commemorate the 20th anniversary--as well as the 40th anniversary of Trilogy's sailing tours--the Governor of Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie, joined Captain Jim and Captain Rand in personally handing out the turkeys.
Before the giveaway got underway, the Governor encouraged Lana'i residents to reach out with their concerns for the island.
"I may be short," quipped Abercrombie, "but I'm not slow, so I encourage the community to reach out."
More than just a giveaway and gubernatorial appearance, the event has grown into a community fair where local non-profits can gain some exposure. The fire department was happy to provide free ID cards for the keiki (children), and barbless fishing hooks were handed out to locals in an effort to prevent the accidental hooking of green sea turtles. Staff were on hand from the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, and local halau of Tahitian hula dancers entertained the festive crowd.
The turkey giveaway always takes place on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and the community atmosphere and feeling of aloha was palpable throughout the morning. Neighbors smiled and hugged in the parking lot, and younger staff members helped assist older residents to carry the turkeys to their car.
Even though the island has grown exponentially in the past 20 years, Trilogy remains committed to our goal of providing for Thanksgiving dinner. On an island which has been in the national spotlight amidst numerous rumors of change, the turkey giveaway is an annual event that Lana'i can count on for the future.
For more information on the history of the event, you can also check out
Any visitor who has taken a stroll down Front street has probably noticed the Lahaina Yacht Club. Set right on the water gazing out towards the island of Lana'i, it's the only place in Lahaina where a membership is required to sit and have a drink.
Few visitors are aware, however, that the island actually has a second yacht club, and even though it doesn't have an oceanfront dining location, it nevertheless hosts a number of race series and encourages island mariners to immerse themselves in the art of sailing. Having been founded prior to World War II, the Maui Boat and Yacht Club is not only the island's oldest yacht club, but it also hosts the largest amount of regattas on the island, and is the only organization to regularly arrange inshore races. As the clubs states directly on their website, "the primary purpose of Maui Boat & Yacht Club is to allow its members to become proficient in sailing small craft and all matters pertaining to seamanship. This is done at a minimum cost through self-help and cooperation. Because the Club is a “paper club” and has no clubhouse and no paid staff, our activities are carried out by dedicated member-volunteers.who make it possible to sponsor and hold regattas, seminars, and other fun events. We are comprised of people who love to sail"
Seeing as Trilogy is Maui's longest-running sailing company, when Trilogy's very own captain Jill approached us about supporting the Maui Boat and Yacht Club (where she is the Rear Commodore of Sail), Trilogy was none too happy to help support the art of sailing in our local community.
Over the course of the year the Maui Boat and Yacht Club hosts a number of "beer can races" as well as "inshore races" which take place in the waters off of Lahaina. In order to help the club out, Trilogy has agreed to donate the use of our skiff to serve as the race committee boat for monitoring and officiating the races, and we encourage all of our crew to accompany Captain Jill in furthering their sailing knowledge and increasing their competency in small boat sailing.
Trilogy is the only charter company on the island who has donated our services to the Maui Boat and Yacht club, and we are proud to play a role in supporting the art of sailing here on our island shores.
As we approach 40 years of sailing and snorkeling around the island of Lana'i there have been many events which have shaped the role which Trilogy plays in the local Lana'i community.
Music provided by Oren Masserman
Decades ago when Trilogy was first beginning to operate on an island which was--at the time--the world's largest pineapple plantation, each Thanksgiving the company would provide a turkey to local Lana'i employees for their hard work and service. After a few years this movement also grew to include some of the company's most loyal passengers, and eventually Trilogy decided that as a means of giving back to the island community they would provide every family on the island with a Thanksgiving turkey as a way of showing their aloha and appreciation.
That was 19 years ago, and since that time the population of the island has swollen from 2,000 people to a little over 3,300. Nevertheless, Trilogy has stayed true to its original goal and handed out 1,150 turkeys this year to appreciative Lana'i citizens. With many residents arriving at the Lana'i City Service Center (aka the island's only gas station) well before the scheduled 8am start, by the time the turkeys began changing hands there was a line of residents wrapping all the way around the block.
Over these 19 years, however, the annual giveaway has grown into an event which brings together a number of island businesses and non-profits for what is one of Lanai's largest community gatherings of the year. Joining Trilogy in the food department was the Maui Hotel and Lodging Association who matched the 1,150 turkeys with 1,150 5lb. bags of rice. Also in attendance were representatives of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, the non-profit Na Pu'uwai (which aims to address health conditions among Native Hawaiians), as well as members of the local Lana'i fire department who were making complimentary safety ID badges for the island's kamali'i (young students).
On a somewhat brisk and blustery morning Captains Jim, Randy, and Riley Coon also personally met with the majority of the island's residents to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. Captains Jim and Randy admit it's hard to believe nearly 40 years have passed since they first started sailing with passengers to this isolated Hawaiian island, and during that time they have literally grown up with the Lana'i people as the island has changed hands from Dole, to David Murdock, to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.
Despite the growth and changes, however, the Coon Brothers firmly maintain their commitment to honoring the island's local people by providing not only turkeys, but also jobs to a number of the island's permanent residents. That being said, Captain Jim makes a point of acknowledging that new arrivals to the island of Lana'i (such as new Four Seasons hotel staff) are welcome members of the island community, and events such as the turkey giveaway are meant to foster relations amongst community members, businesses, and non-profits alike.
Over time, the long-term impact of the turkey giveaway has actually stretched far beyond the usual tupperwares full of leftovers. With the success the event has seen over the past two decades the need which was highlighted amongst the community initially served as the catalyst for initiatives such as the Hawaii Rural Development Program which, since its founding, has helped train and educate over 75,000 rural community members in sustainable careers they can carry out into the community.
As a company we feel markedly blessed to be able to share the beauty of Lana'i with guests from all across the world, and given this fortunate set of circumstances also recognize the importance of giving back to a local community which has supported our growth for the better part of four decades. So during this season of giving and thanks Trilogy extends our warmest aloha to the island communities of Maui and Lana'i and to the the legions of loyal passengers we are blessed to share these islands with.
Mahalo for your support, and from everyone in the Trilogy 'ohana, have a Happy Thanksgiving.