After protestors succeeded in blocking the plans, GL announced in that it would shut the entire ranch—hotels, golf courses, and farming. A skeleton crew of about a dozen people maintains the land and tends the enduring cattle. We find that we presently do not possess the required expertise nor resources to bring the Molokai Ranch assets back to their full potential. The residents of Molokai can only benefit from such a new owner. What guarantees, after all, that they can avoid what happened to GL?
They told me they want a buyer to come in, appreciate the community, and maybe participate in some endeavours with cultural and Hawaiian heritage. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists?
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The Ultimate Guide to Moloka‘i
Log in using your social network account. Please enter a valid password. The west end is arid with rather uninteresting scrub vegetation. But it is where pineapple growing and ranching — and now tourism — have all had their day. Development has ceased there; Molokai Ranch, which most recently offered visitors lodging as well as horseback riding and other outdoor activities, closed last April after residents rejected a plan that would have allowed construction of luxury homes.
I began in the west. Puu Nana, in the area called Kaana, is revered by hula practitioners as the birthplace of this dance, which they consider sacred. Annual May pilgrimages celebrate the dance, which the goddess Laka is said to have taught to her people. Molokai is also famous for its kahuna, powerful Hawaiian priests who could either provide life-giving herbal remedies for the sick or pray a healthy person to death.
That first evening, I ate at the Kualapuu Cookhouse, a Molokai institution serving fresh fish, beef, pork and chicken dishes. I chose to eat outdoors and shared a picnic table with a family of three. We were serenaded by Bruza Paleka, a ukulele player, and Uncle Chuckie, his sidekick that night, on one-string, gut-bucket bass.
Playing local Hawaiian songs and wearing shorts and flip-flops, they filled the cool air with sweet melodies, reminding me again why the islands are so enchanting in the evening. The next morning my host suggested a swim at tiny Dixie Maru Beach at the lower end of a string of idyllic beaches that line the west coast.
Moloka'i Is Hawaii's Most Natural Island
One of the beaches in this line is Papohaku, two gorgeous miles of yard-wide sandy beach that conveys a feeling of cleanliness and solitude. I ignored the siren call to take a detour and swim there; I had been forewarned about sharp hidden coral reefs and swift, treacherous rip currents. I arrived at Dixie Maru at about An elderly couple sat quietly reading in lawn chairs shaded by a thorny kiawi tree.
Not much more than a protected cove, the bay enticed me into six backstroke laps across yards of clear, deep-blue water with a calming undulation. During a careful walk over the lava rocks framing the left side of the bay, I spotted a large honu a sea turtle bobbing and weaving along the shoreline, selecting from a verdant buffet of seaweed clinging to the rocks. Soon, a youngish teen arrived, lovingly waxed down his six-foot board, slipped into the surf and silently glided gracefully along the faces of luminous waves.
The adjoining tiki bar, only yards away from the tranquil Pacific, conveyed a feeling of timelessness as I swayed in a hammock nearby, one of three catching the slight breeze. The island of Lanai was visible nine miles away.
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On a short street lined with stands, sellers of fruit and vegetables, T-shirts and crafts peddled their wares in a convivial, relaxed atmosphere. Molokai never surrendered to tourist-first faux aloha spirit: the people here are genuine in spirit and manner. They call Molokai the Friendly Island, but it can turn into the surly island to the outsider who ignores local protocol.
The outdoor market is an opportunity to take in the local color and meet the locals on neutral ground. View all New York Times newsletters. It makes a fine French toast. The bakery holds another distinction. On Saturday night, down a short alley behind the storefront, you can line up and wait your turn for the arrival of hot French bread.
The southern coast is dominated by 60 ancient fishponds built seven or eight centuries ago. When I spoke during my trip with William Akutagawa, executive director of a local health care agency and an expert on many things Molokai, he explained how the ponds operated. The first 20 miles are normal enough, with fishponds, 19th-century churches and a shoreline with brownish waters and few swimming spots. This last section, which ends at spectacular Halawa Valley, reflects a traditional Hawaii ignored by the tourist trade. Foliage is dense, and families have their horses and goats tied close to the road.
On many of the one-acre plots, gardens and fruit trees vie for space with chickens, dogs, rusted car skeletons and modest homes.
Fishing nets and hunting accouterments, including dog kennels, attest to the survival of old ways of finding food; wild pigs, goats and deer are the edible prey. Though food stamps are a supplement for many on this island, taro, sweet potatoes and fish remain staples. This was a final stop for them after being torn from their families and everything they knew. The unique community that developed there has a small-town New England feel, with tidy churches and modest homes belying past horrors.
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