'Star Trek' star cruises the islands
Wil Wheaton is once again venturing into the unknown on a giant vessel, but it’s not the Starship Enterprise it’s the Norwegian Star. Wheaton, who starred in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series, has been touring the islands by sea. And while he’s awestruck by the volcanoes on the Big Island, he said urban Honolulu “just reeks of desperation.”
Wheaton is participating in CruiseTrek, essentially an annual seafaring Star Trek convention. After arriving in Hawai`i on Friday and attending a small science fiction event in Waikiki, he boarded the cruise ship Sunday.
Wheaton has parlayed his television role as 24th-century wünderkind Wesley Crusher more than a decade ago into a new life as an Internet celebrity, garnering perhaps more fans online than he did on TV.
And the web-savvy actor is documenting his island experience at his website, WilWheaton.net, publishing diary entries and photos from the ship.
“As I type this, I am sitting on my veranda, looking out at the Hilo coastline,” he wrote Monday. “This truly is paradise.”
Embarking on the cruise came as a relief to Wheaton, who wasn’t too fond of Honolulu.
“While the beaches are beautiful, and the water is clean, warm, and placid, the entire city feels like Santa Monica or Venice, in California,” he wrote. “There are homeless, panhandlers, and shifty-looking hustlers everywhere. There is graffiti on most of the buildings, and trash litters the gutters and doorways along most of the streets.
“There seems to be a great deal of poverty just a few blocks away from Hotel Row, and the whole place just reeks of desperation,” he added.
A trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with his wife Anne, however, inspired almost poetic praise.
“The silence that surrounded us while we stood at the edge of the caldera was like being in a vacuum I told Anne that the lava reminded me of pictures I’ve seen of the Moon or the surface of Venus,” he recalled. “It was an amazing, breathtaking experience, and it was wonderful to feel the Earth as a living thing… it’s hard not to with all the steam and sulphur and micro earthquakes all around you.”
Wheaton also writes of his adventures aboard the Norwegian Star, including participating in a “Newlywed Game”-style contest.
As of this writing, Wheaton and his shipmates are en route to Kahului after a visit to Fanning Island the federally-mandated visit to a foreign port. The ship will visit Kaua`i on Saturday, before ending its tour back in Honolulu on Sunday morning.
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I’m one of the producers of Geek Cruises (http://www.geekcruises.com), and Wil was actually doing double-duty on this cruise, both as a Guest of CruiseTrek, and as a speaker for our joint Macintosh and Perl computer conferences. It was truly a delight to have Wil on board. He gave a technical talk on how to blog (using his highly acclaimed wilwheaton.net blog as an example), and also a brilliant dramatic reading from his Dancing Barefoot book.