Hawaii Island’s Fair Wind Cruises – a family-owned tour boat company celebrating its 51st anniversary this year – is committed to preserving and protecting the environment for the next generation.
“As leaders in ocean tourism, we take the responsibility of solving environmental issues seriously,” said Alex Dant, the founder’s grandson who today spearheads Fair Wind’s numerous sustainable travel initiatives, including fueling the company’s boats with biodiesel.
A diesel mechanic by trade, Dant explains that choosing to use local biodiesel is “a no brainer.” The company proudly fuels its two vessels – Fair Wind II and Hula Kai – with local biodiesel, a 100% renewable fuel they’ve been using since 2013. This year marks a decade of using local biodiesel!
“I was adamant to use biodiesel to help us do as much as possible to reduce our carbon footprint,” Dant said. “It’s profound that we’re able to reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuel by having this clean, local fuel available to us. This is especially important because the shipping industry is traditionally the worst of the worst, polluting the ocean by burning off-road high-sulfur diesel fuel.”
“And biodiesel is a superior fuel for our boats,” Dant said. “I’ve had less fuel injector issues since using biodiesel than I’ve ever seen with using off-road high sulfur petroleum diesel.”
Another way Fair Wind is showcasing sustainable travel practices is in its “farm-to-boat” menu.
“We source fresh, locally produced foods whenever possible, much of which is organically grown on our family farm,” Dant said.
In 2020, Fair Wind Cruises pledged to elevate environmental needs and act as a leader in ocean stewardship. Part of that mission meant becoming the first tour company in the state of Hawaii to offer plant-based meals to guests on excursions.
Dant says his company regularly prepares its menu items with bananas, papayas and sweet potatoes from their 8-acre farm as well as produce sourced from neighboring farms, keeping revenue in the community while showcasing these unique locally grown foods for guests who may only know Hawaii for its pineapples.
“For example, we use local ‘ulu in our ‘ulu and sweet potato salad. And, we substitute meat with Jackfruit. By eliminating meat, we have greatly reduced our environmental impact,” Dant explains. “We also compost our food waste and other organic materials – and we use the compost on our farm to grow some of the food we serve on our cruises. We’ve switched from a degenerative cycle to a regenerative cycle.”
Dant is inspired by his grandfather’s philosophy about environmental stewardship: “If no one does these things, no one will.”
“In the big picture, we are a small company – but we can showcase these examples of making responsible choices for our environment and ultimately it makes us feel better. Otherwise, those things start to weigh on you,” Dant said. “We are trying to do our best with every choice we make – and we are figuring out as many inspiring and fun ways as possible for our guests to realize how they can help the planet.”