Graphic: back to Vorfeld IndexTrans-Pacific and Inter-Island Steamship Travel

Synopsis of Jack's Life | Early Years | San Francisco Vorfelds
Trans-Pacific and Inter-Island Steamship Travel | Judy's Tribute | Memorial Photos-1
Memorial Photos-2 | Memorial Photos-3 | Tributes by Friends and Relatives

The Wright brothers made history just after the turn of the century, but not until the early 1930s did commercial trans-ocean air travel begin between the Territory of Hawaii and the United States (Mainland).

Jack grew up knowing no other form of transportation to the U.S. than steamships. In the early years of steamship travel a ship usually carried no more than 80 passengers, and during the seven days it took for passage, the passengers got to know each other quite well. Matson Lines provided incredible activities and amenities for passengers of all ages.

As a boy, Jack traveled on the Manoa, the Wilhelmina, the Maui (which carried about 150 passengers), and the original Matsonia. Although these ships didn't have swimming pools, Jack says the food was fabulous. They offered a full breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, tea about 4 P.M., dinner around 7, and another snack around 10 PM. There was a time when some of ships had slot machines in their barber shops.

The first trip he remembers took place shortly after Grandma Vorfeld died. During that visit they met Jack's uncle, Robert Vorfeld and his wife Marie (from South America). That ocean trip, and others, were such fun.

Jack's most memorable trip took place in 1926. Four teenagers hung out together: Jack, Frank Woods, Louis (Luau) Brown, and Granville Cheeley. Passengers named them "The Four Bells." They initiated activities like treasure hunts, and made sure that everyone who could walk was involved.

Inter-Island Steamship Lines hauled people and cargo within the Hawaiian Islands. Large ships couldn't dock at Nawiliwili, Kauai and Lahaina, Maui because of shallow harbors. Hilo had a sufficient harbor for large ships, in fact people could take their cars between Oahu and Hilo. Ships anchored offshore, then the crew transferred passengers to lifeboats (12-person capacity each). Somewhere in the mid-1920s, authorities dredged the harbors at Nawiliwili and Kahului, Maui.

Jack's first remembered Inter-Island trip was about 1920, when the Vorfelds traveled to Mana, Kauai to stay on a sugar plantation with Uncle Fritz and Aunt Marie Weber and family. Climbing in and out of lifeboats and bigger boats was great sport for Jack.

graphic of a vanda orchid

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