Molokai is a relatively small island with less than 8,000 people. It has a highway system that connects the various population centers together, but it is lightly used enough that there are no traffic signals on the island. Maui (especially in Lahaina) on the other hand has traffic, and parking issues. Molokai calls itself “the most Hawaiian of the islands”. What this means is that it is a low stress place to live and a great place to raise a family, but lacks a lot of the amenities that tourists expect. If you are looking for a tropical setting to relax in, Molokai is your place. If you are looking for lots of trendy restaurants and bars, and plenty of activities, Maui is more your speed.
Lahaina is an older town, most of the buildings date back to the early 1900’s. We stayed at the Pioneer Inn, built in 1903 and oozing with charm. It is in the thick of things, with the harbor to one side, and bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops all around.
After 6 blissful weeks on Molokai, I was ready for some action. In fact, even though Lahaina is a small town, I was like some country bumpkin seeing the big city for the first time. I was like a kid in a candy shop. As we walked down Front Street for the first time, I was oohing and aching and pointing at everything. I could’t wait to try some of the really touristy stuff.
Somehow, I talked Trog into going on the Submarine attraction, even though he had not quite recovered from the ferry ride from Molokai. It is an actual submarine, half a mile off-shore. It dives down to 130 feet below the surface. We got to see coral reefs, and lots of fish, and a submerged boat wreck. I found it fascinating and I think that Trog was not too traumatized by it.
That night we went to the Luau. It was a short easy walk from our lodgings, and set on a beach that, they say, was popular with the Hawaiian royal family, back in the day. They served a five course meal with an open bar. Each of the first four courses was representative of a different region (Hawaii, Aotearoa, Tahiti, and Samoa) and culture of Polynesia. These four courses were preceded by mai tais and some banana and sweet potato chips with a tropical salsa. All of this was followed by a dessert course, and each course contained three separate dishes. Lots of food (and drink). And each course was accompanied by a performance of the music and dance (and costuming) of that region. I am a sucker for any kind of folkloric dance performance, and had not gotten my fill of hula, so this was the perfect ending to my Hawaiian sojourn.