Hello Friends and Family,

1982 - HI, Moloka’i, Part 2

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Last week, I shared many photos of the Sheraton Molokai, which has been abandoned and is terribly rundown. This photo shows the place where I stayed, Paniolo Hale. Since it is still listed on VRBO.com and since their listing photos match my memory of the place, I would definitely consider staying here again on a future trip.

But now it is time to get out of the condo and do some exploring. A hill along the ocean caught my eye, demanding it be explored — who was I to refuse such an interesting invitation. Standing on the top of Puu o Kanaka (a cinder cone headland), one could see the westernmost hole on Sheraton's golf course as well as a beautiful stretch of beach.

Panning my camera a bit to the right, I could see the full extent of the fabulous Pohaku Beach. I say "fabulous" because it is the longest beach on Moloka’i and the third largest in all of Hawai’i. It measures three miles in length, giving it the nickname "Three-Mile Beach".

Here you'll find campsites, indoor and outdoor showers, as well as picnic and restroom facilities. And because it is on Moloka’i you will find very few beachgoers with whom to share this wonderful spot.

And if you look in the opposite direction, you will see this scenic cove. If you look carefully, you might see a party of three with this spot all to themselves.

Time to head "downtown". The road goes through an old lava field which demands your attention if you've never seen one before. I had to stop, get out of the car and capture this shot — and that whole time, not a single vehicle passed me from either direction.

As we approach "downtown", the Kamapua Grove is a dramatic sight on the ocean's edge. This is one of the oldest coconut groves in Hawai’i, first planted in the 1860s for King Kamehameha V. There have been as many as a thousand trees but age and pests have taken their toll. Efforts are underway to address the problems so folks can continue to enjoy this special spot.

By the way, it is advised that visitors not walk into the grove itself, due to the risk of being hit by falling coconuts. And a photo tip — this is a great spot to capture a sunset photo with the setting sun on the horizon but peeking through the trees.

Suddenly, we are "downtown" — technically known as Kaunakakai. Since there is really only one urban center, locals don't bother with the name — the "downtown" descriptor is known and used by everyone. Here we see the local dive shop. This is an important shop, not just for dive stuff but to inquire about tour guides for a visit to Halawa Valley on the east end — and perhaps for other parts of the island. Keep that in mind when I share pictures of the valley next week.

From an architectural standpoint, many small towns in old Hawai’i resemble old western towns on the mainland. Kaunakakai fits right in. And remember, if you need something — food, a tool, paint and so on, this is where you will find it. If no store carries what you need, it requires ordering by mail or a ferry trip to Maui.

Did you happen to notice that none of these "downtown" photos show a traffic light? That is not a "photographer's choice" — there are no traffic lights on the whole island of Moloka’i. With so few roads and only one urban center, who needs traffic lights?

Just a short drive from "downtown" is the harbor (or technically "Kaunakakai Harbor") used by commercial fishermen, recreational boaters, shippers, and the Molokai-Maui Ferry (three trips a day in each direction).

Driving a bit further east, one encounters an ancient fishpond. These were built by Hawaiians using lava boulders and coral forming a semi-circle touching the land on both ends. This construction technique allowed ocean water to ebb in and out — making it habitable for fish. They built wooden gates that allowed small fish to swim in, providing a haven to reside and feed. As they grew, the fish would become too large to exit back through the gate. The Hawaiians would then harvest fish responsibly and sustainably. Pretty clever, I think!

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com