New dive boat delivered to Hawaii Experiences for West Oahu dolphin tours
by Michael Hansen, Hawaii Shippers Council, January 10, 2018
Workboat Magazine published on January 8, 2018, the news article, “Armstrong Marine delivers catamaran tour boat to Hawaii,” reporting that Armstrong Marine recently delivered the tunnel aluminum catamaran tour boat MIRAI to Honolulu-based Hawaii Experiences. Mirai (未来) is a Japanese given name, meaning "the future," and there are several Japanese-owned merchant ships whose names include the word marai.
The Port Angeles, Washington-based Armstrong Marine USA Inc. designs and builds welded aluminum boats and barges. On September 22, 2017, Byron Bolton, CEO of WestWinn Group Enterprises Inc. of Vernon, British Columbia, Canada, announced their acquisition of Armstrong Marine.
The WestWinn Group is a privately-held company founded by Bolton in 2004, and a leading manufacturer of welded heavy-gauge sportfishing boats under the KingFisher, Harbercraft and Jetcraft boat brands in Vernon. In October 2012 WestWinn Group's Bolton completed a private stock purchase of the Washington State-based Renaissance Marine Group, Inc., manufacturers of Duckworth, Weldcraft and Northwest Boat brands, through a newly formed entity, RMG Holdings Co., of Seattle, Washington. Subsequently, RMG Holdings acquired Armstrong Marine in 2017. The Canadian WestWinn Group and American RMG Holdings operate independently.
The operator of the MIRAI is Honolulu, Hawaii-based Iruka Hawaii Experiences LLC, which is owned and managed by Yuriko Iruka whose website explains that “she loves dolphins so much she changed her name to "Iruka" Japanese for dolphin. The website further notes “Yuriko made this company out of her heart to show the world the lessons that "Iruka Sensei (Dolphin Teacher)" can teach us.” Iruka Hawaii Experiences offices are locat4ed in the Waikiki Shopping Plaza (where the ground service provider, JTB Hawaii Group, is also located)
Under the collective name of “Hawaii Experiences” a variety of ground tours in Hawaii are marketed under different brands: Big Island Jump (Hawaii Island); Mauna Loa Helicopter Tours (Oahu & Kauai); Iruka Waikiki (Oahu); Iruka Kona (West Hawaii Island); and, Kona Fishing (West Hawaii Island). The Ikura Hawaii Twitter feed notes they provide, “Scuba & Snorkeling, Swim with Dolphins, Dolphin & Whale Watching, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Outdoor Activities, Boat Tours & Water Sports, and Tours.”
The Hawaii Experiences FaceBook page states, “They LOVE our new Catamaran ‘MIRAI’. Ocean activities and snorkeling in crystal clear and warm Hawaiian water on the west side of Oahu!” indicating the vessel is already in service and hosting tours along the West side of Oahu.
The Iruka English website describes the experience they provide off West Hawaii, “Our main focus is to protect and respect the Dolphins and Manta in their ocean home whilst providing our guests with an experience of a lifetime in a safe and unique environment. These Dolphin & Manta return every day to interact with guests, introducing their families to our guests. For us, swimming with our wild Dolphins & Manta families and living in these incredibly beautiful islands, is a special and privileged way of life.”
Key excerpts from Workboat:
Armstrong Marine, Port Angeles, Wash., recently delivered the 40’x15.6′ high tunnel aluminum catamaran tour boat Mirai to Honolulu-based Hawaii Experiences.
Designed by Armstrong, the new 49-passenger boat is powered by four Evinrude G-2 E-TEC outboards, packing a total of 1,000 hp, and governed by E-TEC controls. The power package gives the new tour boat a running speed of 47 mph. The steering system is by Sea Star. Other features include two heads, a Garmin electronics package, and a three-person crew. The catamaran is USCG certified, Subchapter T.
“Our clients are so happy they ordered a second boat,” said Capt. Charlie Crane, commercial sales, Armstrong Marine. “The 40-foot high tunnel cat is perfect for viewing sea life and snorkeling. Set up with a serving station for some cold drinks.”