Scavenging Lana’i

1 Mar

It’s been about 2 weeks since I got back from Hawaii and I’m finally getting around to a post.  I can’t tell you how cool this trip was.  I never considered Hawaii much as a vacation destination since beach vacations are not at the top of my to-visit list.  Hawaii really is unlike any other place in the US though – it’s as close as you can get to visiting another country without leaving our borders.  The vegetation, animals, and even some language is all different.

On Lanai, an island of only 140 square miles, if you just popped up in a random location you could be anywhere.  There were parts that looked like Montana, with vast fields, horses and farms.  There was the Garden of the Gods that looks like the red rocks of Arizona.  The beaches were pretty straightforward, but even the mountains could be mistaken for the foothills of the Sierra.

To help me explore the island, Robin sent me a scavenger hunt. I’ll admit that I didn’t accomplish everything on the list – I was busier than I thought I’d be – but I’m going to share a few of the highlights with y’all.


This is on top of Pu’u Pehe , or Sweetheart Rock.  Legend goes that a Hawaiian warrior suspected his wife (Pehe) of cheating so he put her in a sea cave in the rock.  The waters rose and she drowned.  He felt so bad that he threw himself to his death from the cliff.  This structure is supposedly her grave, although archeologist have studied it and found no human remains.  It is old, though, and may be a heiau, or temple.


This is Kai Okahi Oka Malamalama and is really fun to say.  It’s also a small church on the property of The Four Seasons at Koele (their upcountry resort and one of only three hotels on the island).  I don’t know much about the church, but it was built in the mid-1800s and still holds Sunday services in Hawaiian.


Although the American flag flies high in Hawaii, as I mentioned, it’s different from most of the US.  Walking in Lahaina, where this photo was taken, it’s easy to imagine early missionaries walking around with the same sense of wonder that boatloads of tourists do today.  I think part of my perception comes from staying on such a small island and only visiting Maui.  I’d imagine Waikiki has less of the mixed world feel and more of the American tourist city vibe.


Since the islands are all volcanic, the struggle would have been to find a rock without air bubbles in it.  This little guy was hanging out in the tide pools along Hulopoe bay, along with colorful fish, urchins, and crabs.


(Greg not pictured)  Despite the sad tale of Sweetheart Rock, my journey there was slightly less dramatic.  It’s only about a mile’s hike from the hotel.  While we were there I saw a whale completely breech in the distance, and just as that was about to take my breath away, I looked down to spot a black tipped reef shark swimming with some large blue fish. No falling Hawaiian warriors, but pretty cool nonetheless.


This guy wasn’t the smallest living creature I found, but he was the largest small living creature I found.  I’m not sure where he lives.  I’m fine with wherever it is as long as it’s not in my patio garden.


We did not get to see the petroglyphs on Shipwreck Beach because it was more of a hike than we had time for, but we did get to see Shipwreck Beach itself, which was a unique spot.  This side of the island is much windier and very shallow.  I suppose that’s why ships like to wreck themselves here, even if that wasn’t the case with the largest wreck – this WWII Liberty ship.  This guy was just scuttled on the beach when the war ended.


The only nature quotes I could think of had to do with mountains, so I wasn’t just being a smart***.  The reason Hawaii never appealed to me is because I thought of it as just a beach.  I’ve always been more attracted to the mountains and forests.  For some reason, despite understanding that Hawaii had volcanoes and rainforests, the diversity of Hawaii’s ecosystem never occured to me before.  I’ve come to realize that no matter where I go, the environment always astounds and enlightens me, so to make up for my lack of real quote, here’s one I found since I got back:

In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous – Aristotle

– April


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