Clarence Greff


Current Info

Clancy transferred out of De La Salle in his Junior year.  For many years he lived in Kauai, Hawaii where he started a sightseeing business called "Captain Zodiac" Tours.  He was featured on "Good Morning America" when he took the late President Regan on a tour.  

When Clinton and Gore got into office, they pushed through some environmental legislation that was used by Hawaii's governor to put Clancy out of business.  

He is currently living in Bali, Indonesia.

Email Response from Clancy in Bali - July 3, 2006

Dear Larry, 

The computer lost your last letter so can you resend?  

Perhaps you would like to visit Bali sometime. I will be in Hawaii around November and December.  I wish your family well.  You know I have 5 children, 3 boys and 2 girls.  The boys are 9, 18, 19 and the girls 10 and 23.  

I'm 53 now, 5' 11" and 170lbs.  I have been lifting weights for 15 years so I can bench press 250 lb.  The surf here is unbelievable. I am single and this is the place for 50 year old single man.  The woman are abundant and beautiful.  God bless your family and send me a picture if you can. 

Hope to hear from you, 


News Story

Travel Agent Magazine - 2005

At age 19, Andy Evans already was an old salt when he first set eyes on Kauai 's Na Pali Coast. It was June 1980, and he had just sailed alone to Hawaii from Ventura , California in a 24-foot sloop.

After anchoring in Hanalei Harbor , Evans hit the waves in nearby Haena. There he met Clancy Greff, who was operating Na Pali tours under the name Captain Zodiac.

"Here's this friendly guy who says, 'Hey, wanna join my tour group?' " Evans recalled.

It was Evans' first experience in a Zodiac, and inflatable rigid-hull raft know for its speed and maneuverability.

"I had never seen anything like it before," he said "Na Pali blew my mind - those spectacular green cliffs, caves tucked along the base that you wouldn't see unless you were up close as we were, waterfalls flowing thousands of feet to the sea."

Evans was planning to sail back to California , but he wound up sating in Hawaii for good. Over the next four years, he worked for Greff in the summer (Zodiacs can't operate off Na Pali in the winter because of turbulent wave action), and sailed catamarans off Waikiki the rest of the year.

In 1984, Evans started his own tour business, Capt. Andy's Sailing, and this June he founded a separate company, Captain Zodiac Rafting Expeditions, under a licensing agreement with Greff, who now is headquartered in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island.

On the morning expeditions about Ihe Kai, you can spot marine life, explore sea caves, and go snorkeling.

The day expedition on Discovery includes all of this plus a beach landing at Nualalo Kai. Once there, you can snorkel, hike or hop back into the raft for further exploration of the coast. Evans describes the Zodiac excursions as "true adventures."

"They're wet, wild and really fun, but they're more strenuous than most people imagine," he said. "This experience calls to that special person who wants to be right on the water, bumping through every wave, getting wet and having marine life within an arm's reach."

On a typical day, clients will sea turtles, rays, a variety of fish and curious spinner dolphins who often swim within a few feet of the raft. The rafts zip into lava tubes, sea caves and other places that larger vessels can't visit.

According to Evans, a Zodiac excursion is an amazing journey of discovery in more ways than one. "When you're in this little raft beneath 3,000 foot-high cliffs, that really puts you in your place, " he said. "You realize you're a very small piece in the grand scheme of things."

News Story

Hanalei Boaters Battle to Retain Business Rights
Pacific Business News (Honolulu) - August 13, 1999

The scene in Hanalei Bay, Kauai, last August: Dozens of boating operators taking visitors on tours through a dramatic side of Kauai accessible only by kayak, motorboat and sailboat.

Now one year later, the state has revoked permits for all but seven permitted commercial boat operators. By state order, the remaining businesses are scheduled to leave the bay by Aug. 24.  All of this is part of Gov. Benjamin Cayetano's plan to return the bay to the people of Hanalei and move the boat operators elsewhere.

A week from the deadline, the remaining permitted operators are asking the governor and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources for clarification of which companies will be forced to leave -- and for an extension until March 2000.

According to a spokeswoman at the DLNR, the governor and state department staff will meet in the next couple of weeks to discuss the commercial boating situation on Kauai.  Although on the surface the issue seems to involve just a few small businesses, it is one of the most controversial on the island.  The boating companies want to stay, while many of the people living in the area want them out.  The issue has been debated for nearly two decades. 

The governor says the area just isn't set up for commercial boating.  "The Hanalei area is too restrictive to support commercial boats, while still allowing families and visitors to utilize the valuable recreational resource for swimming and fishing," he says.  Cayetano says that while commercial boating on the Na Pali Coast is a strong visitor attraction, it is not appropriate for that particular area. 

A shutdown of boat operators would benefit Kauai and the state as a whole, he says.  Environmentalists and some politicians who have long opposed commercial activity in the bay have cheered the governor on.   "It took great courage and vision to make this tough decision, and I applaud the governor's actions," says state Representative Hermina Morita (D-Kauai).

But many small commercial businesses in the area -- a handful of them on the verge of bankruptcy -- are not at all happy.  They've run tours in the bay for more than 20 years, and have helped the state preserve it and keep it clean.  They have to relocate or go out of business.

At least one company, the most well-known and well-established in the business, faces bankruptcy with no place to relocate.  The firm is Captain Zodiac.  "I've lost everything --- my business, my house, my employees -- and I'm doing everything I can to stay out of bankruptcy," says owner Clancy Greff.

The state will not reissue him a permit to operate on any other part of the island, as all available permits had already been issued, he says.   Other commercial businesses are in the same sinking boat, says Greff.  He says he was the first person to open a business in the area, in 1978 -- at the state's encouragement.   He took visitors in and out of the bay on his rubber raft and gave cultural tours and talks to visitors wishing to know more about Hawaii.

People that know Greff say he was a model corporate citizen, hauling garbage off the beaches, rescuing stranded hikers, donating rescue equipment to the state, going on tours with the state and county to promote Hawaii, and generally helping out whenever he was asked.  He also took movie stars and Hollywood productions in and out of the area. Jacques Cousteau even gave his approval to the Captain Zodiac operation when he went on a boat trip in the bay.

Greff says that although his boats were not harmful to the environment, and he always left the beaches cleaner than when he arrived, environmental groups fought all commercial activity in the area.  One organization even asked the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to investigate the Captain Zodiac operation.   Secret investigations did take place during the 1980s, Greff says, but none of the environmentalists' accusations were substantiated, he says. So the state Department of Land and Natural Resources let him continue operating.

During the next 12 years, Greff's permits were routinely renewed.  Then on June 5, 1998, state enforcement officials shut him down, issuing him six tickets for allegedly not having the proper permits.   But DLNR officials refused to issue him the proper permits, and his business has remained closed. Meanwhile, he's had to lay off 60 employees.

The battle over whether Captain Zodiac can operate in Hanalei Bay has also been waged in court over the past several years. The Hawaii Supreme Court even sided with Greff in the past. And the state never pursued the case.   Greff estimates he's spent $1 million related to the litigation.

But the issue is unresolved as he continues to writing letters to the state and working with his attorney.  With a huge overhead and a $400,000 loan hanging over his head from the days after Hurricane Iniki, Greff and his family are broke and on the verge of bankruptcy.  "I've had to sell everything, and I still haven't been able to pay off the loan," he says.  "I cannot believe this is happening to me. It is such a mess. I never thought the state would just put me out of business without any warning," Greff says. 

Web Links

Roxy Surf Now - (Surfing video made by Clancy's daughter Rachael)



De La Salle Academy, Newport RI                                                                                                       Class of 1971