After Hawaii Where?
Where do you go when Hawaii is no longer the Paradise of the Pacific? After Hawaii where?
The answer, according to one Maui resident, may be the New Hebrides.
"Lots of people who moved from the mainland, hoping to get away from the hurry-burry, find it's catching up with them here," said Bud Willoughby, a resident of Kaanapali.
"I'm afraid that in ten years they're going to wreck Maui," he said. "Maybe this won't be the place to live in five years because of the crowds."
Willoughby and his wife moved to Maui recently from Redwood City, California, following Willoughby's retirement.
The willoughbys then followed the lead of a good number of people in Hawaii who have bought property from Amalgamated Land, Inc., a Hawaii company which has been agressively selling building lots on the New Hebrides island of Espiritu Santo.
The New Hebrides, located in the South Pacific on a line between Hawaii and Australia, are administered jointly by the French and British.
The Willoughbys seem to have bought the land for about the same reasons which have enticed other buyers: relatively good prices, the absence of taxes and other governmental restrictions, an escape from urban America, and the possibility of making a profit if they ever decide to sell.
Willoughby said he and his wife hope to live on Maui for the next five years or so. "If they louse up Maui by then," he said, "and if there is a moderate amount of additional development there (on Espiritu Santo), we might move down there."
The Willoughby's paid $9,000 for one acre of land at a spot called Hog Harbour, but generally referred to by the developers as Lokalee Beach. The land is 600 feet from the beach, and some 30 miles down a crushed coral road from the airport and the principal town of Luganville (population about 5,000).
Almost all the lots in the Lokalee development have been sold. So far, two houses are under construction.
"I'm hoping there are enough people who are serious about it, so development will take place in the reasonably near future," he said.
The Willoughbys made a personal visit to their property in April, and reported that they were "pleasantly surprised". They said they found their lot and were happy with its location, and with the roads, the scenery and the weather in the area. Visitors from Hawaii to Loganville now must fly first to Fiji, then take another flight to the New Hebrides capital of Vate, then transfer again for the flight to the island of Espiritu Santo.
But Amalgamated Land, in selling its lots, plays up the possibility of a jet airport for Loganville and of big time tourist development. Answering the question: After Hawaii where?
But for now, the people of the New Hebrides rely on copra from coconuts for most of their income. And the Loganville Airport is unpaved. And there is only one small hotel, a 24-unit facility at Hog Harbor.
Willoughby says he has no idea if Amalgamated's prognostications ever will come true. He says he does feel that the company represented fairly the land it is selling.
"They made it pretty clear, I think, that when you move there, you take care of everything yourself: water, power, sewage."
According to Willoughby, "anyone with any degree of sophistication realizes they (Amalgamated) puff up what they sell." But, he said, most of the facts can be learned by asking a few questions of the Amalgamated representatives who have been making sales pitches on Maui and the other Hawaiian islands.
After Hawaii where? Your call.
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Buck Quayle at the Maui Lahaina Sun bureau circa 1970
Reporter/Photographer Buck Quayle in 1971 in Maui with the Cartagenian in the background
Another Day At The Office Haleakala National Park