Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Razorback Pu'u Kanehoalani

The wall of the Ko'olau Range breaks up as you drive the northeast shore of Oahu, as sharp ridges jut toward the sea. The photogenic Pu'u Kanehoalani ridge cleaves the 4,000 acres of Kualoa Ranch, which has been the site for many movies, such as Godzilla, Mighty Joe Young, and Jurassic Park. You can tour the ranch on horseback, ATV, or open-air jungle vehicles.

Next to the ranch on the ocean side is Kualoa Regional Park, with a long sandy beach on a peninsula that points toward Mokoli'i Island (Chinaman's Hat), a tiny, near-shore island that is a destination for adventure snorkelers. Walk down the beach for supreme privacy to Secret Island, which is not really an island but feels like one since historic Moli'i Fishpond lies just through the flora at the backshore. In ancient times, say 1100 AD, Chief Kahai from this area completed a round-trip canoe sail of about 5,000 miles to Tahiti, bringing back numerous seeds that were to establish the valley's life-giving farms. Centuries (!) later, even the vessels of Kamehameha the Great would lower their sails as a sign of respect for the chief when passing Mokoli'i' Island.

Had enough? If not, head to Tropical Farms, about a half-mile down the road. This is one of the old-timey family resorts that is disappearing from the islands. Tropical flora surrounds a gallery-gift shop that features bottomless sample bowls of a dozen different kinds of macadamia nuts, plus an urn of Kona coffee. See page 127 of Oahu Trailblazer.