Tag Archive for: Molokai

Barf Bags and Bar Room Brawls

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Molokai was amazing, getting there by a chartered ferry from Lanai was wonderful.  The owner of Island Princess Ferries actually captained our boat and regaled us with wonderful background about the myriad whales we encountered breeching and diving around our tandem-laden ferry.  

Sailing Across from Maul to Lanai

Unloading the bikes was an almost drenching Tandem Bike Ballet.

However, the return public ferry from Molokai to Lanai was some kind of cosmic belly nightmare, as the seas were angry and bilious; the ferry pitched and yawled and the passengers wretched and heaved until the crew ran out of barf bags.  It wasn’t pleasant.

Jim and I stayed our course but by the time we checked back into our hotel in Maui, we were pretty spent.  I decided a cup of tea was in order, as we were unsettled and packing for our early flight to the big island in the morning–however, I couldn’t locate the coffee pot.  I called housekeeping and was advised to look in the minibar.  I tried, but the cabinet door was stuck, so I leaned over and gave it a good pull when suddenly, it flew open and the corner of the door bonked me in the eye.  Blood flowed and swelling began immediately.  Jim called the front desk for bandages and in moments a medic team knocked on our door with cameras, legal release forms and medical assistance….

So here I was, after a wonderful week of some gorgeous but occasionally harrowing cycling with no accidents, finding myself the humiliated recipient of a black eye at the hands of a recalcitrant mini bar.


Saint Damien, Saint Marianne and Molokai’s Mules!

Categories: Adventure, Travel, Women's - Tags: , , , , , , ,

Molokai island today is still very quiet and comparatively undisturbed by tourism, in some ways more like unspoiled Hana, Maui in dramatic contrast to the Kanapalii side of Maui which is wall to wall hi-rise resorts. Hana, though quiet and relatively out of the way due to its’ LONG winding access road, has orchid farms, little roadside stands, a retreat center, lots of artists–and very strong aloha energy.
Molokai is something else—probably based on its dark past as the repository for those hapless victims of Hansen’s Disease (leprosy) dumped, often perilously on its rocky shores in the 19th century. Molokai’s Father Damien was just canonized by Pope Benedict two years ago (deservedly for his fearless devotion to Hawaii’s ostracized lepers) — his simple small churches along our ride route yesterday stand as poignant testament to a pure Christian faith—And just today, even as we speak, we learned that in October 2012, Mother Marianne, who courageously volunteered in 1883 to come here on the remote desolate peninsula of Kalaupapa on Molokai to help him minister to the banished lepers, will also be sainted.


Lei Draped Statue Honoring Father Damien

The Molokai saints’  gracious energy is not present in all the island’s current inhabitants, some of whom appear to have reversed the energy and want to ward off the outside world.

Today, starting out in pre-dawn darkness we ride our tandem only a dozen miles, but with a goodly 1500 foot climb up the mountain to the Molokai Mule Barn. The plan is one of us hikes one way down the 26 switchbacks 1,500 feet down the mountain to the isolated seaside site of the leper colony for a tour and the other rides the mule, then we trade going back up. Jim is opting for me to hike up and he’ll ride the mule–he says it will save my knees to ride the mule down instead of hiking. Hmm. Probably true, but suspicious!
But, you know, Sweetheart that he is, once we are there and look at the trail (and the mules) he insists that I should honor my dramatic 20 mile emergency evacuation mule ride out of the Yangtze River tributary gorge with a round trip mule ride, and he’ll “Shanks mare” the roundtrip on foot. (It’s Scottish, dating from the eighteenth century. There was a verb, to shank or to shank it, meaning to go on foot. This is from standard English shank for the part of the leg from the knee to the ankle, which comes from Old English sceanca, the leg bone. This verb developed into shank’s naig or shank’s naigie (where the second words are local forms of nag, a horse) and later into shank’s mare. It was a wry joke: I haven’t got a horse of my own for the journey, so I’ll use Shank’s mare to get there, meaning I’ll go on my own two feet.)

Once down the 26 hairpin turns traversing the tallest sea cliffs in the world (and YES, mules do prefer the very edge) we recognize what truly heart rending isolation the victims of the near plague of leprosy, brought to the Hawaiian people by outsiders in 1840, suffered in this wild place until Father Damien arrived in 1873 as their angel. With his help, they built cottages, roads, a wharf, St. Philomena Church, a clinic and an orphanage for the children. Until he himself died of the disease 16 years later, he ministered, educated, tended the sick, built coffins and actually buried over 6,000 victims.
Sadder and wiser, we return to the steep climb, reunite with our tandem and into a rainstorm, to ride back down to Kaunakakai town for a genuine luau, a memorable sunset gathering of local musicians of all ages and sizes.

Aloha Nui Nui

Categories: Adventure, Biking, Conscious Living, Travel - Tags: , , , ,

Lest anyone imagine us Madly, Kindly and Truly celebrating our “Golden Years” and Jim’s 75th Birthday on a beach somewhere under a palm tree with a tall drink with a paper umbrella—NO!!

We just cycled 50 Molokai miles today in a headwind, climbing almost 3,ooo feet on a gorgeous narrow road that even has Big Sur beat hands down for extreme coastal beauty.  (This, because one dramatically rugged stretch of the road with almost NO cars, hugs the escarpment edge, zigzaging in precipitous switchbacks from the beach up to the pass offering jaw-dropping vistas of the azure sea crashing into white foam on rocks below).

Along the way, we stopped briefly to hike in hushed jungle silence to the remains of Liliopae, the island’s largest and hidden heiau (temple), where powerful Kahuna (priests) made human blood sacrifice drench the football field size array of stones blood red. The ancient aura is still potent.

Back on our tandems after a brief stop at the Puu O Hoko Ranch Store at the top, we descended a sheer white knuckle road however many breath-taking feet down into Halawa Valley.  We stopped to catch our breaths for a picnic before hiking 5 rugged miles into a beautiful sacred waterfall cascading into a large pool.

At the entry to the trail, however, our path was blocked by a cursing Harpie. (Was she on drugs?) Why didn’t her proximity to the ancient sacred pools she was guarding, help her at least maintain a modicum of aloha courtesy while defending her beliefs?

She’s not alone with the major sturm and drang on Molokai against visitors. Turns out a few months ago a yacht with 30 tourists docked in Molokaii. Many locals are terrified that that signals the beginning of commercial tourism, cruise ships, etc. and they want NONE of that. Fair and foresighted enough.   Unfortunately, since we’re in lycra bike shorts and neon safety colors, we stand out like beacons.  We’ve been cursed, given the Hawaiian version of the double “F” sign and barked at by dogs.  Not all the people are that way, for sure–some are very hospitable, and we are here under our own pedal power, respectful of the sacred sites and history of this island.

After the strident Harpie finally realized we were visiting at the invitation of our guide, her neighbor down the road, she retreated and we were able to set out on the jungle trail, probably still hyperventilating a bit from her high decibel confrontation.  But by the time we reached the waterfall Jim and I were too beat and it was getting too late to even take the time to take a swim, envisioning still ahead of us, the return hike then bike ride back up and down those amazing hills. These Golden Years are exhausting!