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Hawaii: In Real Life ~ Hawaii Duck Tours

Here’s a look at the unusually-shaped, historic vehicles and their comeback


Posted June 12, 2013 by Melissa Chang

My head looks funny because it's windy at Maunalua Bay!

You’ve seen these unusual yellow vehicles driving around Oahu, some actually making quacking noises. Other than asking what the heck it is, I hear a lot of people say they thought Hawaii Duck Tours had closed. Well, it did for a few years, and it’s back, but with a new owner and a fleet of brand new ducks. (Disclosure, they are also one of my clients.)

The original 2.5-ton, six-wheel amphibious trucks were originally manufactured by General Motors Corp. for amphibious operations in World War II by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. Its primary use was to ferry ammunition, supplies, and equipment from supply ships in transport areas offshore to supply dumps and fighting units at the beach. The DUKW (an acronym based on D-model year 1942, U-amphibian, K-all wheel drive, W-dual rear axles), called “duck,” was shaped like a boat. It had an enclosed, hollow airtight body for buoyancy and used a single propeller for forward momentum.

Today, the ducks are open-air and much more stable than the old ones, and while their dual-terrain mobility can theoretically be used for military-type operations, they are functional for peacetime events. Their unique, quirky design make them interesting conversation pieces — which hopefully can teach people who have never known war, their important place in history.

We sat with Hawaii Duck Tours General Manager Will Yokoyama halfway through a tour of Maunalua Bay yesterday to find out more about the new ducks and how they are making a comeback.

We got out and walked around the duck with Will to look at all the new features of the “version 2.0″ vehicle. Click here to see more and learn about how it can be used not just for tours, but for emergency situations today.

Comments


You can read all of Melissa’s blogs at www.nonstophonolulu.com/UrbanMixPlate. Follow Melissa on Twitter @Melissa808, on Foursquare as Melissa808, or email at Melissa@nonstophonolulu.com.

  1. Annoddah_Dave
    Posted June 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Delicate Blossom:  What the Duck!  I guess they don’t do open water stuff, but it would be pretty cool to do a little fishing while on the Duck then back to shore with a grill going to have a grilled fish snack!

  2. turkfontaine
    Posted June 12, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    there is nothing more frightening than being hung over in Waikiki at 9am and seeing 100 Japanese tourists pour out of their hotel, wearing yellow backpacks and yellow duck bills, all of them, quacking, quacking, quacking.

  3. Melissa808
    Posted June 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    @Annoddah_Dave that would be too far out, I think!

  4. Melissa808
    Posted June 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    @turkfontaine the duck only seats 26!

About Melissa Chang

Melissa has been blogging regularly since 2007 and has more than 25 years’ experience in marketing and public relations. She is currently an independent marketing consultant, specializing in social media. 

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