Uh oh. No Starbucks or fitness center for me this morning. The end of the world must be near. 29 May.
We are out the door at 5:45a to drive to Lahaina for the Molokai Princess ferry to the island of Molokai at 7:15a. There we will do the Alii Tour booked online through Rob Robb at Hawaii Info Sources. (Booking worked well but the linked email directions took us to the Pacific Whale Foundation at Maalaea Harbor many miles south of Lahaina. Fortunately we had already done a Lana’i tour and knew the ferries left from the Lahaina Boat Harbor across from the Pioneer Inn.)
Following are some highlights and photos of the 6+ hour on-island tour, dictated by the limited ferry crossings. The ferry ride adds more than 90 minutes in each direction, plus check-in and boarding time.
The ferry ride is a good hour and 40 minutes of moderately bumpy and rolling ocean. It is supposed to be rougher in the afternoon.
We are met at the dock by tour guide Rudy Dela Cruz, a born and raised Molokai resident. I don’t know what is in the water around here besides fish, turtles, and whales 🙂 but this guy is a bundle of energy, education, and entertainment.
The first stop is the Kalaupapa Lookout overlooking the former leper colony. The views are beautiful, with some glimpses of the 1500+ foot lushly vegetated cliffs down to the flat sea level peninsula. ‘Next time’ a pre-reserved guided mule ride down the narrow trail would make the Molokai visit very special, probably not combinable with this particular tour.
A 30-40 minute stop at Coffees of Hawaii (lots of commerce on this tour) finds us greeted by 15-20 guitar and ukelele players having a casual jam session on the porch. SWSNBN (She Who Shall Not Be Named) chats with Rudy.
IMO they miss the boat at this stop. Other than a brief explanation of the very interesting harvesting machine by our guide as we drive in there is no tour of the facilities. ‘If we want’ we can knock on the door of the roasting shed and maybe or not someone will show it to us. I don’t think anyone takes this up. The store has no tasting available for the coffees on sale and the cafe/snack bar is abysmally small and slow in serving people, even on laid-back Hawaiian time, for even a cup before our time is up. The place IS busy as there are few attractions like it on Molokai.
Next stop is Purdy’s Macadamia Farm, a small, 300-tree all natural operation. We get a lengthy explanation of macadamias from Purdy and the opportunity to crack some nuts ourselves. This is a good stop and I gladly buy a bag of the tasty nuts (50% less calories than the processed kind) as well as some delicious honey mustard we have sampled.
We pass a remaining stand of coconut trees planted by a Hawaiian king on our way to the included lunch at the Hotel Molokai, currently the only place to stay other than a few condominium complexes.
Lunch is a teriyaki chicken sandwich with fries and a soft drink or iced tea to drink. It is very good. Rudy also has a chest of sodas or water on the bus and we make plenty of bathroom stops for which we older folks are grateful.
We stop at one of Father Damien’s churches and Rudy gives us more information inside.
We pass other churches and scenic spots, continuously regaled with tales, singing, and jokes from our guide.
We eventually make it back to the main town for another 30-40 minute stroll and commerce stop, though it is verrrry laid back and not much in the way of stores, IMO. Love (not) the gas prices, even higher than the $4.89 on Maui, all understandable for what it takes to get products to them.
Back at the ferry harbor canoers are paddling around and we are soon on our way to Lahaina.
As we had heard, and noting the sickness bags in the seat pockets on the way over, the afternoon ride is VERY bumpy and rolling. M’lady has wisely taken dramamine tablets an hour before departure and weathers the journey satisfactorily. I get a little dizzy briefly at one point but do not require a bag. At least 3 people in the vicinity do and the boat crew spends a bit of time handing out more bags and cleaning up. ROUGH!
After an hour and 45 minutes we are back on dry land none the worse for it. The dramamine helps m’lady finally get a half-decent night’s sleep but the next morning she wakes up still feeling drugged. Strong stuff.
As noted this tour is longer than it needs to be. The guide is outstanding and the organization from start to finish excellent. Some of the activities could be expanded or contracted for a better experience. I must give it a B-.
We get back to the hotel some 13 hours since we left, just in time for snapshots of the obligatory sunset.