MOLOKAI, HI (AN ISLAND HOPPING ADVENTURE)

I can sometimes see Molokai from one of my favorite neighborhood places to sit and enjoy the ocean view.  I would often look out at Molokai and think, “I should go visit there.”

Molokai Airport

Molokai Airport

On December 5th, I drove to the inter-island terminal at the Honolulu Airport, and boarded a puddle-jumper.  30 minutes later, I had arrived.  At the Alamo counter, they had run out of compact cars, so I was given a gigantic 4 door Jeep Wrangler instead. Fun!

I headed to the west side of the island first. My first stop was at Papohaku Beach, a 3-mile long stretch of white sand.  The only people there were a family of tourists.

On my way back I saw one of the many Speckled Indian Deer that have lived on Molokai since they were introduced in the 1860’s. It ran across the road, right in front of my gigantic Jeep.  Thankfully, the smaller deer behind it changed it’s mind about crossing the road right then, or I would have had an even closer encounter.

My next stop was at the Kalaupapa Lookout and Phallic Rock.

Phallic Rock and Lookout

I HAD to go see this Phallic Rock. Hawaiian legend is that the male fertility god, Nanahoa, turned himself into a rock in the shape of a penis.  Women would come with offerings and spend the night at Phallic Rock in the hopes of conceiving.

Sacred PlaceA quick 5 minute stroll through a nice ironwood forest led me first to the sign above, and then to the Phallic Rock.  I have no interest or desire to have children.  I just wanted to see a rock shaped like a penis. Personally, I don’t think Nanahoa did himself any favors when he turned himself into this:

Phallic Rock

The view of the Kalaupapa Peninsula was beautiful.  There’s a small town down there, built by people with leprocy who were banished to Kalaupapa.  The only way to visit it is to take a mule ride down the cliff.

Kalaupapa I stopped in Kaunakakai and grabbed a blueberry pastry for lunch from one of the renowned Molokai bakeries, and then headed for the east side.

The drive out to the east side of the island was a bit scary.  The road got more and more narrow, with sharp turns and no way of knowing if someone was coming the other way. The drive is about 28 miles, and took me about an hour and a half.  Halawa Valley was beautiful, and the waterfall was flowing well in the distance.

Once I returned to Kaunakai, I stopped at Hotel Molokai, taking the suggestion of a fellow traveler that morning.  He told me that on Friday afternoons, all of the local aunties and uncles come together at Hotel Molokai to play music and sing stories.  I had a nice lilikoi drink at the bar and spent some time enjoying the local music.

For dinner, I ventured to Kualapuu Cookhouse.  I enjoyed Ono in a lilikoi butter white sauce.  It was delicious.  Lilikoi is passion fruit, in case you are wondering.  Made into a butter, it is simply divine.  After enjoying a piece of chocolate macadamia nut pie, I headed back to the airport.

Dinner

At the airport, I checked in for my flight, and discovered I was the last person leaving Molokai that night.  I could have scheduled an earlier flight.  I was at the airport about an hour and a half before my flight.  I sat down to wait.  They began closing down the airport.  Even security left.  Then, about 10 minutes later, a pilot walked by. He saw me in the waiting area, stopped and asked me if I was heading to Honolulu.  Why yes, I was.  Was I ready to go now?  Well, sure.

So I boarded my personal 10 seat plane, about an hour before it was scheduled to take off.  I got a safety briefing from the co-pilot on the walk to the airplane.  I had no boarding pass, and I never went through a security checkpoint.  On the plane ride back the pilots even left the little curtain open, and I was able to watch all the fancy instruments.

All in all, Molokai is maybe the least exciting of the Hawaiian Islands.  I haven’t visited Lanai yet, so I can’t say for sure.  I sense another day trip in my future.

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