Fair Wind Sails Into 35th Year

Dant family continues proud tradition

By: Dawna L. Robertson

Thanks for the memories, Fair Wind. This year, the company celebrates its 35th anniversary of providing guided ocean adventures for visitors and residents of Hawaii’s Big Island.

What started off as a brief rendezvous in Kona on a cruise from Monterey to the South Pacific evolved into a lifetime adventure on the western coast of Hawaii’s Big Island for the Dant family.

In 1969, Michael Dant built the original Fair Wind vessel, a 50-foot trimaran that he began sailing the next year from California to Hawaii with wife, Janet, and a crew of nine.

Their South Pacific excursion was cut short when the Dant’s vessel was damaged. Repairing their trimaran in Kona, the Dants noticed how the local community pulled together in true "aloha" style. Numerous acts of kindness prompted the Dants to reconsider their journey. They never left Kona.

After a year of hard work, the Fair Wind business launched with snorkel cruises to Kealakekua Bay. Soon after, dinner sails were added to expand the company’s appeal.

By 1974, Fair Wind began focusing more heavily on snorkel cruise operations. Historic Keauhou Bay served as Fair Wind’s homeport for its exclusive cruises to Kealakekua Bay, site of the historic Captain Cook monument and treasure chest of colorful marine life. Fair Wind had found its niche.

Then in 1975, it was all about change. The vessel’s cabin was raised and a water slide was added for additional fun. The traditional main meal of tuna fish sandwiches was replaced by the current menu, Fair Wind’s hearty barbecue lunches of cheeseburgers and garden burgers.

In 1983, the Dant’s son, Puhi and his wife, Mendy, purchased the Fair Wind business. In 1994, the company introduced Fair Wind II, a custom-built, 60-foot aluminum catamaran with covered deck. The craft features a 15-foot water slide, high jump platform, on-board restrooms, freshwater showers and a staircase descending directly into the water for easy water access.

By 2001, Fair Wind’s fleet had grown to include the Orca Raft Adventure and a custom-designed, 11 1/2-foot mini-vessel tagged the Fair Wind Tug.

Today, the next generation of Fair Wind’s ocean adventures begins with the recent launching of Hula Kai, a 55-foot Technicraft power catamaran that’s lauded for its luxury, comfort and technology.

Hula Kai’s five-hour Deluxe Morning Snorkel and Dive Cruise covers a light breakfast, gourmet barbecue lunch, no host bar, gear and two snorkeling destinations (sea caves and lava tubes) for $139 plus tax. Through August 30, a similar afternoon cruise with sunset barbecue is $119.