Wednesday, November 11, 2009
To see what it was like on Maui in 1950, take a 90-minute ferry ride (or a 10-minute flight in a helicopter) to Molokai today. The entire north side of the island is roadless, where 3,000-foot high cliffs take on the Pacific. Drive east and the road skirts a coast of ancient fishponds and a surfing beach before ending at lush Halawa Valley (pictured here) home to several towering waterfalls and jungled hiking trails.
Going west on Molokai leads to more arid red-earth slopes and Papohaku Beach Park, with its 3-mile run of white sand. The north tip of the island (west of the sea cliffs) is Kalaupapa Peninsula where the leper colony was overseen by Father Damien in the late 1800s (tours take you down a switchbacking trail, yet another throwback in time).
Full scale tourism has never taken hold on Molokai, largely due to the efforts of locals who have shunned it. Island Marine runs ferries out of Lahaina, and Blue Hawaiian, as well as other companies, lift whirlybirds out of Kahului. See page 188 of Maui Trailblazer for an itinerary of a long day on the island.