Molokai Memories Part 1

13 Oct

A few weeks ago we attended a silent auction in Hana, and won two tickets for a round trip ferry to the neighboring island of Molokai.  We only have a short time left in Hawaii, and it has become our goal to hit every island in the chain.  We decided to take advantage of a recent long weekend, and took the Molokai Princess from Lahaina Harbor early on a Friday morning.  The trip took about an hour and a half and we were treated with amazing views of Lanai and Molokai.

Molokai is a very small island, and it’s a great place to come and relax and do absolutely nothing.  Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of hikes and water activities, but this is a place you come to literally get away from it all.  It’s said to be the most Hawaiian of all the islands, and it definitely has that laid back feel with some of the most breathtaking scenery I have ever seen.

We disembarked on the hot, dry west side of Molokai and took a shuttle to the airport where we picked up our sweet ride!

Our first stop was Kumu Farms where we indulged in a yummy snack.  Kumu farms is a largely organic farm that’s most popular crop is the sunrise papaya.  This has become Tyler’s favorite Hawaiian treat, and we couldn’t wait to visit the farm most responsible for what has quickly become an addiction.  It’s sweeter than a regular papaya with a pinkish red flesh that gives it it’s name.  We bought lots of other fresh goodies and made a little picnic of papaya and apple bananas.

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As we headed east we were amazed at how desert like the terrain of the west side appeared to be. Dry grass, bare trees, and dust in every direction.  But the rise of the mountains in the distance was beautiful.  The contrast of the east side, where we stayed,  was tropical, green, and lush.

We made it to our condo, and the location could not have been more perfect.  The condo fronted the ocean with a perfect view of Maui, Lanai, and on a clear day Kaho’olawe.

And the lush, green, verdant mountains were in our back yard.

We got settled in and decided to head over to Pala’au State park.  This is where we found the overlook to Kalaupapa peninsula.  While the beauty of this place is breathtaking, it holds a very sad but important part of Hawaiian history.  Kalaupapa was once a place of exile for people who had Hansens disease (leprosy).  This was before people understood the disease and its treatment. Father Damien was a missionary who ministered to the medical, emotional, and spiritual needs of these quarantined people, and today remnants of his mission are evident all over Molokai.

Kalaupapa sits at the bottom of some of the tallest sea cliffs in the world and there is only one trail in.  Its about 3.2 miles one way and descends 1600 feet.  You can hike in with a permit, but you also have an option to take a mule ride down.    This was supposed to be a nice relaxing, chill vacation, and the thought of sitting on a mule that was carrying us down the edge of a cliff did not instill a relaxing image in my head, so Tyler and I opted to take in the views from the lookout.

After taking in the beauty and history we took another trail that led to a phallic rock that, as legend has it, is known to increase fertility in those who pray there. Oddly enough it’s shaped like, ahem….. well see for yourself….

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Tyler and I intentionally refrained from saying any prayers at this location. (Maybe we’ll come back in a couple years!! :))

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We decided to head back to Kaunakakai, the “bustling” town center of the island,  for dinner.  We were in the mood for fresh fish, which we thought would be easy to find on an island.  Wrong!  It seemed like everywhere we went, they were out of fish.  In their defense it is more difficult to keep fresh fish, and on an island with so few restaurant goers it can be an expensive challenge to keep them on the menu.  We just thought it a funny coincidence that, despite the ocean on all sides, it was a chore to find fish!

We decided to stop at a place called Paddlers Inn that had a very laid back casual atmosphere.  We saw Ahi, Mahi Mahi, and Salmon on the menu.  And a veggie burger!  When it came time to place our order the conversation went something like this:

Waitress:  What would you like to order?
Tyler:  I think I’m gonna have the Mahi Mahi.
Waitress:  We are all out of the Mahi Mahi.
Tyler:  Okay, then I will have the Ahi.
Waitress:  We are all out of the Ahi, but we have Salmon.
Tyler: I think I’ll go with the veggie burger.  Do a lot of people like the veggie burger?
Waitress(hesitantly):  Yes.
Kim:  I’ll have the chips and salsa.

A few minutes later the waitress come back and much to our dismay said “Sorry, we are out of veggie burgers.”  WHAT?!?!  So Tyler ordered the Salmon, and we hit up the local pizza joint on the way back to the condo for a slice of cheese pizza, a quick game of PAC man, and a prize winning game of lazy crane.

We were exhausted when we got back, and decided to call it an early night. Which was a good thing because we were promptly awakened at 5 am the next day by the crowing of a rooster right outside our window.  It definitely made for an interesting start to another fun day.

Stay tuned for the rest of our adventure!

To be continued……..

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