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Friday, November 13, 2015

First Day on Molokai

Ooooo I love small airplanes, and my flight to the island of Molokai was small, holding only 9 passengers. The inter-island 'puddle jumper' was a Cessna Grand Caravan, and it holds about a half dozen passengers plus the pilots.
Ready to board the flight to Molokai

The Cessna is so small there was no room inside for carry-ons. So, the free-of-fees carry-ons were stored with the regular luggage, while the regular luggage that was in the same spot as the carry-ons was not free. Confused? That's OK. I take whatever part of 'free' I am allotted. I read, Molukele airlines was started by a native Hawaiian woman. Go Hawaiians!


I was thrilled to be seated just behind the pilots so during the flight I could see the cool dials, blinking lights and whatnot over their shoulders.

The controls show we were between Maui & Molokai,
with the extra land form being Lanai.
So long Maui!

I knew we were on a good flight when this rainbow spilled into the Pacific.
No Leprechauns here...
The flight was quite short, less than an hour and I enjoyed every second of it, watching so much of the Pacific passing underneath, and Molokai coming into sight.

I hear Molokai has steep cliffs, and that's apparently true
Now. How small is the Molokai airport?
The luggage carousel is this bench.
With my luggage I walked over to the car rental place, the only one on the island. The super basic rental car on Molokai was nearly 3 times as expensive for the 4 days I would have it, than was the well appointed, humongous SUV I had on Maui for a full week. That's what happens when a small local needs to either make their year's profit in a short window or is just tiny and doesn't get as many customers. Ask me about Alaska or Maine's rentals sometime (I dare you!). Packed in my ride for the week I headed east. Had to pass through Kaunakakai, a town that is smaller than its name. I stopped at the Molokai Fish and Dive shop to sign up for a snorkeling boat adventure. I was the ONLY one signed up and they require at least four passengers for it to be a 'go', so I was assured they weren't expecting to go out before Tuesday, when I'm leaving. RATS! So, disappointed, I headed out of town, as far as the roads would take me, to Halawa Valley.
The drive hugged the coastline. The rock rim on the water
is a fish pond that is 7 or 8 hundred years old
The highway mostly hugged the coastline
I thought I could go snorkeling solo at one of the beaches, then decided it might be nice to be alive on Tuesday when I fly home. Those waters were much rougher than they appear in the photos.
There were many places to pull off the highway and walk to beaches
The only Nenes I saw were on this sign
The drive was mostly one lane and like the drive on Maui, it passed lots of farmlands.




Then I reached little Halawa Park, and the end of the road. A local, called to me that I could go on the road anyway if I wanted. Now my first thought was, 'can I drive through there?', not 'Oh look! A place to hike." I didn't go in.
End of the Road
The park was actually rather large and near a little structure, there were locals practicing for what looked to be a Hawaiian Ceremony*. Both of the men in red, below, are holding giant conch shells. The leader blew his, and it made a haunting sound. 
Ceremony in Halawa Valley park
I parked to use the facilities and some locals walking by, invited me to walk the 3 miles with them up to the valley's falls.  As it was miles away and all my stuff was in the car, so I declined

I spotted a sign that said the walk was a daily thing and I'd just happened by when the walk was just taking off. ("Whew! That was close call!", recalls the bone idle woman).
I headed back on the same road, to look for the Air BnB I'm renting at a little resort, that would be my little flat for the week. The drive back, was just as pretty as the drive in.
Mokuhooniki rock, that was used for bombing practice during WWII


See the Mo’oula falls? It looks like a silver ribbon at the end of Halawa Valley
At first I had the spot I stopped at to view and photograph the falls to myself. Shortly after arriving though, several cars and vans stopped and one of the tourists, spotted me and called to the others, "Look! There's our friend, remember her?" They meant me, and at first I was flummoxed. Then I recalled we'd all met in the wee hours of the morning at the Maui airport. There, when a flight for Molokai was announced I joined the little tour group as their names were called and each was given a  seat position on their Cessna.There was no seat for me, and the steward told me I was on a later flight. Standing there on the view point, they told me that my flight left for Molokai more than an hour before theirs did. Their Cessna had problems & sat on the tarmac while the repair crew sorted out the problem. Happily we all made it to Molokai safely, and had our impromptu, and jovial 'reunion'.
Beach at the end of the Halawa Valley
Stern looking Tiki demi-god and bottles guarding a house on the wayside
I passed some fish ponds a second time, and took time to examine them. There are fish ponds on many Hawaiian islands. Ancient Hawaiians built the fish ponds and only royalty ate the fish that grew there. In modern times locals build up the pond enclosures with boulders and rocks composed of lava and coral reef. 

The ocean water wafts in and out of the fish ponds
Western view of fish pond in the distance
Look at Maui from the shores of Molokai
Looking across harbor at Kaunakakai from the Ferry port
After lunching at the port off Kaunakakai I drove to claim my Air BnB. Loved my apartment, which was a cute one room apartment in a small 'resort' which is what apartments on the island seem to be called (or so I believe). It is owned by a guy whom I won't meet and who lives on the big Island of Hawai'i. It's on the second floor, has a small patio and a great ocean view. Yay! It's going to be a good few days here.

Hurrah for a great patio view!
Here's a quicky video (the sort I very-nearly-excel at, of the drive on the south eastern bits of Molokai on the road to the Halawa Valley.


*UPDATE: Post vacation, I looked on line and discovered the 'ceremony' I observed at the little Halawa valley park is performed prior to hikes up to the falls. After the cultural Hawaiian pre-trip preparation, the group are lead in a walk, 3 miles round trip to the Halawa Valley falls. The route crosses two rivers - on foot - and goes through lots of mud and vegetation. Makes me even happier I didn't take the walk to the falls. That said, I am tickled that I'd been fortunate enough to view that tiny bit of the traditional ceremony & the blowing of the giant Conch shell.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! Thanks for the trip. My travels are often via cyberspace. Glad u didn't scuba alone. I must share I was more fearful of the single engine aircraft. I read about so many crashes with those. ( sorry, call me Debbie Downer tehee)

    ReplyDelete