For the past 8 days I have, at various times, gotten sunburned, dug my feet deeply into the sand, lain on the beach for way longer than is healthy, gotten a zero-gravity pedicure (zero-gravity is the only way to go when getting a pedicure), gone on power walks with my mom along the shore, played tennis, talked with my sister and brother-in-law (whom I hadn’t seen since they got in their car at their wedding reception, driving off into their mutual futures), gone paddling in a 6-person canoe and stared into incredibly clear ocean water…in other words, I have been in paradise. Hawaii. A little place plopped into the middle of the pacific far from scary words like DISSERTATION DEADLINE, WORKING BIBLIOGRAPHY and LIBRARY CATALOGUE.
My family vacations here every summer but this time we decided to take a little outing to the neighboring island of Moloka’i. This is a strange place- beautiful, of course, but strange. You can read more about it and its 8,000ish population here. We were only in Moloka’i for about 24 hours but we hit up all the major sights in one afternoon. The biggest draw? A leper colony formed in the 19th century that still exists today.
This was the purpose of our visit. We don’t typically seek out leper colonies to tour while on a relaxing beach vacation, but my dad was doing some research and filming for a new book and found a really interesting story about the priest, Father Damien, who worked in and transformed this quarantined area back in the day.
Moloka’i has one hotel, one bar and lots of occupants resistant to tourism and the capitalistic/opportunistic mindset I’ve grown comfortable with. Their story and efforts are worth the time if you have it. Everyone we met who lives there is passionate about living there. I think you would have to be.
These are just a few of the breathtaking views we were privileged to see while my dad was filming and on our own excursion.