What I found on Molokai pleasantly exceeded my expectations.
I enjoyed two nights of kupuna, or elders, entertainment by the local people with ukuleles, song, and hula at the Molokai Hotel (every Friday night) and at Molokai Ranch. Of all the Hawaiian islands, Molokai is the place where the local people provide the entertainment most directly, integrated into the traveler experience. There is a family feeling.
Lawrence Aki led me on an engaging hike into Halawa Valley, where he is re-developing the taro fields. This has become his life’s work, teaching visitors about Hawaiian culture and protecting the ecosystem. We walked past the heiaus or sacred sites, 12 of which are in this valley. We ended up at the long, diaphanous Halawa Falls and swam in the cool water.
Molokai Ranch has a new-style lodging option called a “tentalow.” This is as green as lodging will get. Each of the tented bungalow units, set adjacent to a lovely beach, has its own electric solar cells for light, its own passive solar hot water unit, and its own composting toilet. Only water needs to be brought in.
Ray Riegert’s recommendation of the mule ride to the leper colony was a good one. On a mule I made the long descent from the top of the mountain ridges to the seaside location of the leper colony. The seacliffs seen on the switchbacks are as dramatic as the Napali Coast on Kauai.
I’ll do a full-scale writeup on Molokai eventually. These are a few of the elements I will emphasize.