- Associated Press - Monday, June 8, 2015

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - Kohala Ditch is flowing again, it’s filled with kayaks again.

Storm damage to North Kohala’s aqueduct was repaired ahead of schedule, allowing the June 1 opening of new kayak tour company Flumin’ Kohala, West Hawaii Today reports (http://westhawaiitoday.com/ ).

“It’s back to status quo as far as the ditch,” said Surety Kohala Corp. Executive Vice President Bill Shontell. His company manages and partly owns the ditch and is the parent company of Flumin’ Kohala.

The first group of tourists paddled through three miles of the 14.5-mile ditch last Monday, floating under earthen tunnels as tour guides explained the history of the channel.

The ditch was constructed over an 18-month period in the early 20th century. The project resulted in 17 deaths.

Two weeks before the tours officially started, the company was fine-tuning its guides’ skills by takin gemployees of North Kohala businesses on the trips.

“So far, the comments we’ve gotten back is that the guides are very informative, and people are having a lot of fun,” said tour manager Bernelle Camara.

Flumin’ Kohala has hired six guides, three van drivers and four guest reception employees. The tours averaged 15 people a day in the first week, a slower start than the company hoped for.

They plan to offer four of the three-hour tours per day by July.

Tours are $135 for adults and include a van tour of historic sights and waterfalls.

Surety created the in-house tour company after the lease for Kohala Ditch Adventures was up in February. That company ran more than 20,000 people along the historic waterway each year.

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Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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