Hello Friends and Family,

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Moloka`i Mo Bettah
Important Notice to Golfers: With the airlines struggling financially, they have resorted to extra fees for food and drink, preferred seats and luggage. Thus I was met with an unpleasant surprise from Hawaiian Airlines when I left Phoenix — a $125 fee for my golf clubs. I expected a fee, perhaps $50, but was shocked by the highway (or is it runway) robbery. But what can you do once you get to the airport — take your clubs home and miss your flight? And I fully expect to be hit with a similar fee on my return. In my case, it is a break-even proposition (because of the length of my stay and the number of times I will play) but for many, it would be far cheaper (and less hassle) to leave the clubs at home and rent when you wish to play at your destination. Not all airlines are charging this fee, so check with your carrier before you head to the airport.

B&BI arrived on Moloka`i shortly before sunset, picked up my rental car, grabbed dinner at a cool little local place (the Cookhouse) then headed out to Maunaloa to the Bed & Breakfast place where I was staying. It was dark by the time I got there but I found it with just a modicum of driving in circles — there are not many roads in Maunaloa specifically or Moloka`i in general.

I was met by Tom, the proprietor, and he gave me a house tour as well as showing me to my room. The accommodations were quite confortable and Tom's breakfasts were wonderful — lots of fresh tropical fruit plus scrambled eggs one morning, or pineapple-macadamia nut pancakes the next.

Tom was also extremely helpful by loaning me maps and suggesting spots for photography. And his lanai was the prefect place for breakfast and later relaxing. We "talked story" a lot and I even came back to visit him one day during our workshop when I was over on that side of the island shooting photos for class.

Dixie Maru BeachPictured here is Dixie Maru — the beach at the end of the road — a destination that Tom suggested. It is a pleasant spot for swimming or picnicing or photography. And very few people. Moloka`i is suffering, as is most of Hawai`i, with a downturn in tourism due to the economic malaise.
Crab KitAs I was exploring, I discovered a Crab Kit — Some Assembly Required. Joking! Seriously, I have never seen a crab torn apart and eaten so neatly with most, if not all, of its parts left together. I assume a bird did it — but who knows?
Cattle EgretJust visiting one beach after the next, I encountered a Cattle Egret sitting on a pole who decided to depart as I approached. One chance, one shot, not bad.
3 Mile Beach This beach is informally called Three Mile Beach partially because the beach is three miles long but also because its real name, Papohaku, is hard to remember. This day, there were only four people on the beach that I could see — visitors from Seattle.
3 Mile WavesThe waves were spectacular — good trade winds receive the credit, I guess. I also think that one would have to be pretty brave to jump in — it was very rough.
Standing WavesI found one area of the beach where the waves were throwing water up onto the beach with a small stream returning to the ocean. Once spot formed these interesting standing waves — a photographer's delight.

Golf CourseThere has been an ongoing dispute between the county and the Molokai`i Ranch. The latter is owned by a Singapore company (I think that is correct) and they operated the hotel, golf course, ranching, formerly farming and sell home sites. They entered into a dispute with the county over their plans to sell luxury home sites at the easternmost point of land, called La`au. The people and the county government strongly objected because the spot is considered sacred by the Hawai`ian people with archeological sites and burial grounds located there.

Well, it became a high stakes game of chicken and evenutally the Ranch decided to close the hotel, golf course and ranching operations back in April throwing 125 people out of work. Here is a photo of the golf course. No water, no maintenance. And the hotel grounds are similar.

Unfortunately, for the folks who bought condos in the area around the hotel, the whole area now looks distressed. But a further complication was explained to me by Tom the proprietor of the B&B. Molokai Ranch was responsible for the water supply and sewage treatment for the entire area, including the town of Maunaloa. In the short term, it appears that are continuing that but who knows what will happen down the road, especially if something breaks. Tom said that several homes are being held up in escrow because of the uncertainly involved.

Meyer Sugar MillOn a lighter note, I visited a bit of history in the center of the island — the R. W. Meyer Sugar Mill. It was built back in the late 1800's and was in service for several decades. Eventually, it was abandoned and Mother Nature began to reclaim the structure with the contents intact.

In the 1960's an effort began to restore the mill using as much of the original structure and contents as possible — and fabricated duplicates where not. You can now tour the result.

Sugar GrinderFor instance, here is the grinder. It was operated by a mule harnessed to the beams at the top. As the mule walked around in circles, the shaft turned the crushing drums you can see below. The sugar cane was fed by hand through the drums and the liquid was captured and ran down a wooden trough into the main building. There it went though stages of processing including evaporation and centrifugal extraction. The result? Sugar and Molassas.
Maunaloa SunsetAnd after an arduous day of shooting photos prior to the first day of class, I would return to the B&B to enjoy some absolutely stunning sunsets.
QuiltsAnd after dinner and a quick shower, it was time to retire to bed. You will notice the beautiful hand-stitched Hawai`ian quilt on my bed. Then you will probably ask why you would need a quilt in tropical Hawai`i. Well, Moanaloa is at 1200 feet of elevation so it did get cool each evening — and the blankets and quilts made the sleeping quite comfortable.

 Life is good.

 B. David