One of the most wonderful parts of living in Hawaii is the richness and beauty of it's land. We've been fortunate to have now visited five of the eight major islands. Of the three not visited, one is an uninhabited former bombing range, another is privately owned and inhabited by only native Hawaiians, and the other is Lanai, a former Dole pineapple plantation (the only one open to the public).
Courtney and I spent the three days of President's Day weekend on Molokai, population 7,400. The island stood in stark contrast to the others we've visited - both in its lack of people, and in its arid landscape. Most of the island is covered in agriculture, brush, and cattle. It has no obstetrician, only midwives, and no Wal-Mart! We rented an enormous house with seven of our buddies, spending most of our time out on the huge lanai (balcony/deck), watching humpback whales play in the seas between Molokai and Lanai.
On our final day there, we visited Kalaupapa peninsula, an isolated piece of land on the northern coast of the island, where for more than fifty years Hawaiians with leprosy were dumped to fend for themselves. Twenty-seven patients still live in the colony, along with about 150 National Park Service and Department of Transportation (who run the tiny airport) workers. There's one subsidized grocery store, and one gas station. The only way in is a 1.5 hr hike down the tallest sea cliffs in the world, by plane, or by boat. You can learn more about the history of the colony by watching the movie Molokai. Click on the slideshow below for captions.