And Happy Spring Break! Well, for us, at least.
We still have a teenager at home who is willing to spend a week on Maui with us, which is great, because he is always the catalyst for trying something new. And this year, he wanted to spend a day on Lanai! So welcome to my post on Lanai!!
We picked up tickets at the booth in the Lahaina harbor (telephone a day ahead to reserve your tickets) and boarded the lovely Maui-Lanai Passenger Ferry.
Aloha, West Maui Mountains! We spied several whale fins and whale spouts along the way as well, but, alas, no spinner dolphins.
As we pulled into Lanai, there was a lot of snorkeling activity to the left of us in Manele Harbor. Look closely and you can see a sea of pool noodles...
Right next door is Lanai's pride and joy--Hulupoe Bay.
Notice how this beautiful beach is empty? Spring Break in Lanai is pretty much for the Four Seasons crowd only (you can see the green rooftops of the Four Seasons buildings in the top right corner of the picture). I could have spent all day just here on this beach and some people do take the ferry just to do that very thing. Besides the beach itself, there were picnic tables in shaded grassy areas and well-kept restrooms. Apparently, we are to thank island owner, Larry Ellison, for the beach's excellent facilities.
However, we did not come just for the beach!
We came to check out the island, and for this, we needed a jeep and a local who could "talk story." We spent the day with our new best friend from Lanai, Mikee, who rents jeeps and whose circle of acquaintance on Lanai is a veritable Who's Who of Lanai politics and business. My husband did the driving, and Mikee had non-stop stories for us.
Our first stop was Lanai's top tourist attraction, the Cat Sanctuary.
You can pet happy kitties to your heart's content (which is exactly what our son did).
Next, we stopped in downtown Lanai City. A lovely little square of businesses ranging from grocery store, to Lanai District Court, to an artist gallery. The trees are Cook Island Pines imported by George Munro, the overseer of Lanai's ranching operations in the early 1900s. Lanai has been used for cattle ranching, sugar cane farming, and as a pineapple plantation. Along our trip, we saw deer, sheep, and wild turkeys--all part of Lanai's history. Today, one of the bigger activities for the locals on Lanai is deer hunting--they (the deer and the hunters) are EVERYWHERE!
The town's central park is named after Lanai's most famous business concern--Dole Pineapple. This rock marker is apparently all that is left of pineapples on the island.
Back on the road, we hit the Garden of the Gods (which Mikee lovingly referred to as Lanai's rock garden).
The ocean and sky make a picturesque contrast to the island's red dirt. In the far background of the picture below is the island of Molokai, which is twice as big as Lanai (but even less inhabited).
Then we hit shipwreck beach, where a wrecked ship really is beached, but its origin story varies, depending on who you talk to.
Shipwreck Beach is full of tide pools, so I picked out the handsomest sea creature for this blog...
Our trip ended back at Hulupoe Bay, where my two men checked out the entire stretch of beach, and I stared out at the Pacific Ocean, tired, covered in red dirt, and fully satisfied with my day in Lanai.
The day trip is not inexpensive. A round trip ticket on the ferry is $60. We were lucky to rent a Jeep for a little over $100 for the day (and also managed to snag Mikee as our tour guide for the day--he didn't charge for his time, but donations to the kids' group that he works with were greatly appreciated). Contact Mikee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 808-565-7373.