The private island

Today we got up and checked out of the hotel. They had our reservation all messed up. They thought we were leaving a day later than we had planned. I will probably have to contact the agency and see if they over charged us for one night, since the hotel was prepaid. We left our large luggage with the hotel so that we didn’t have to carry it to our next destination. We are returning to the same hotel after a couple day trip over to Lana’i.

We headed down the road and had breakfast at Lulu‘s. We both had french toast. Angie’s was plain and mine was macadamia nut with bananas. After breakfast, we drove to the car rental place to drop off the car. They then gave us a lift to the Lahaina harbor. We checked in with the ferry office and waited for the ferry to arrive.

We boarded the ferry and grabbed a seat on top of the boat. The seats were a lot more comfortable than the ones we road in to Moloka’i. Plus there was no sign of any soot around 😉 After a recorded safety message the ferry left the harbor. We noticed a lot of surfers in the water just near the departure channel. There are quite a good amount of waves that break just outside the harbor on both sides. The ride over to Lana’i took about 45 minutes and it was nice and smooth. A big change from the ride over to Moloka’i. The water is protected from the winds by the island, so the crossing is quite smooth.

We sailed into the harbor on Lana’i and disembarked. There were a number of shuttles waiting for us. The island has a pretty good transportation system, but it does cost $35 a person. The cost is for your entire stay, so the longer you stay, the better deal it is.

The shuttles run from the harbor, to the airport and all the hotels on the island. They do not all run to each location, so you have to be careful of which one you get on or you may end up not going where you had planned to. Several people had this problem while we were there. Our shuttle took us to our hotel. We chose not to stay at one of the main hotels on the island, but instead at a bed and breakfast in the main town of Lana’i City.

The hotel’s name is Hotel Lana’i. They have several rooms from small to full cottages with front porches that overlook the city. The hotel is situated on a small hill above the city and has a lot of Norfolk Pines on the property. The walkway to our room was lined with pineapple plants. Two of which had fruit on them (very tiny, but cute). Our room had a nice living room, bathroom and bedroom. There was a refrigerator and cooler in the room. We unpacked and decided to take a nap. The hotel has a nice restaurant but they are only open Weds-Sunday and since this was Tuesday, we had to wait until tomorrow before we could eat there.

After our nap, we walked down to the main square of the town. We checked out some of the stores. We noticed that pretty much everything closes at 7pm. The subtleties of a small town you forget about. Most of the dinner places were open until 8 or 8:30pm. We decided to eat at Pele’s Other Garden. A small Italian deli that was serving pizza, pasta and salads for dinner. Angie had cheese ravioli and I had the cheese tortellini with garlic pesto sauce. It’s very odd eating a pesto sauce without pine nuts in them, but I guess they don’t get them on the islands. I ordered a side of meat balls. They were good, but they didn’t say what type of meat and we didn’t ask. 😀

After dinner we strolled through their park area and back to the hotel. Although we had not done that much today, we still felt beat. It was off to blog, some reading and then bed as tomorrow would be a busy day. Well, as busy as you can get in a very small town.

The next day we got up and had a continental breakfast at the hotel. Wow, this is a rare thing in Hawaii. The fact that food was included for breakfast makes this the best priced room on all the islands we stayed at. After breakfast we decided to rent a 4×4 Jeep. We got lucky that they had one available as the next day they were all booked up. We walked down to the rental place which was about two blocks from the hotel. Another reason I am glad we stayed at this hotel is it was close to everything. The other hotels would have required us to catch a shuttle first.

The jeep they gave us looked like it had been through the wars 😉 But this was because of the dust and sand on the island. The sand is a reddish color and it gets into everything. The jeep was originally black interier, but now it’s a dull black with red in every seam and crevice. We learned later that our hair, clothing and bags all came away with a red hue. I had to sign tons of waivers and disclaimers that I would not drive on the beach, deep sand or on any unmarked road. I was warned of towing fees and fines. I guess they have a lot of trouble with people doing the wrong things on the island. It ruins it for everyone else.

We headed out to the first stop on our trip. Out on Route 1, we turned right at the end of the paved road towards Naha to see the fish pond. The drive was about 90 minutes with a church at the half way point being built. When we reached the end of the trail, we had arrived at Naha. We got out and changed into swimming suites. There was absolutely nobody around except for a few boats about a half mile off shore sailing by. We went into the water which was nice and warm. This would be an excellent place to have a picnic lunch. If you plan to do this drive, go to shipwreck beach first, then come this direction and have your lunch.

We turned around and headed back to shipwreck beach. After about an hour we reached the turn off point for the trail. We continued along the road until we reached the end. About 100 yards is a soft patch of sand. It may look OK to drive through, but I recommend that you do NOT even with a 4×4 unless you know how to drive in soft sand, you WILL get stuck. Note, you have been warned. When we rented the car, a lady was calling in that she was stuck and when we left the beach another couple was stuck.

We walked to shipwreck beach and found the remains of the lighthouse. The remains of the Liberty are sunk on the coral reef in the distance. This area also has petroglyphs, but we were unable to find them. Another couple was looking as well and we seemed unable to find any trace of them. I know they are there, we just must have been looking in the wrong location.

Both of us were hungry and decided it was time to go back to the city for lunch. We wanted to try the Lodge at Koele. On our way back to the car, we ran into a couple stuck in the sand. They did a really good job of getting stuck. I am not sure who was driving, but they got stuck because they were not using four wheel drive and pretty much burried the rear wheel 2/3 of the way into the sand. Nothing they could do but call for help. We gave them a lift back to the car dealership because it was lunch time and nobody was answering the phone.

We found out they were from Seattle by way of Alaska, and knew how to drive in snow, but not sand. They were on their honeymoon so at least they have a story to tell their friends and family when they get back.

The ride back took about 30 minutes and we dropped them off at the renal agency. We then headed up to the lodge for lunch. The lodge didn’t have a lot of guests and seemed quote empty, although about five tables were seated for lunch. We sat and ordered lunch. I had the Venison Chili and Angie had the asian chicken salad. I also tried their rasberry lemonade, it was pretty good but a bit sweet for my taste.

After lunch, we walked around the grounds. They had some nice fish ponds and waterfalls. The gardens were well kept, except for a hole in the grass that was covered by grass, that I had the misfortune of stepping in. I semi-twisted my ankle. Let’s hope it don’t get in the way of futher hiking. We walked back to the car and continue on our driving/hiking tour around the island.

Our next destination was to go to Polihua Beach and Keahi a Kawelo Garden of the Gods. This was a much better road than the previous route, it was quite wide and smooth, although there was red dirt all over the place, and the winds would blow our dust back at us in some places. This is probably the main reason there is so much dust in all the jeeps. We took a wrong turn and ended up on a side ride that went to the resevoir. Once we realized our mistake we turned around and made it back to the correct road. We traveled along the road until we reached the Garden of the Gods. Here was a lot of rock formations. As we traveled past the rocks the road turned very bumpy. The road remained bumpy all the way down to Polihua Beach.

We reached the beach and parked just short of the soft sand. We walked over the sand dune and down to the water. There was not a single person in sight either direction on the beach. The beach was unmarked by any footprints. We walked to the rocky point which is the northern most point of Lana’i. This area of Lana’i is not a good place to swim as the ocean currents are really strong. They call it the Tahitian express, because of you get caught in the currents, you will not get out until you reach Tahiti.

We braved sticking our feet into the water, but didn’t go swimming. On the walk back to the car, we had to walk into the wind. It was a lot harder going back and every once in a while we got sand blasted when the wind picked up a lot of sand. As we headed back the beach had a few more people, so we had it to ourselves for just a little while. The sand was really hot so I had to put my shoes back on as my feet. We drive back up from the beach, the ride up didn’t seem as bad as the ride down. I think gravity and speed had something to do with it. The trip back was a lot faster since we didn’t have to make an unscheduled detour. When we got back to town, we drove down to the Kaumalapa’u Barge Harbor. This was a completely paved road and went by the airport. The road are lined with Norfolk Pines and really make it stand out. There is something abotu a long tree lined road that makes you feel like your in the country. But country that is being well maintained.

After we reached the harbor we turned around and headed to the Four Seasons at Manele Bay. We parked in the parking lot, which was at the top of a pretty steep hill. We could not find anyway to easily walk down the hill to the hotel, so we decided it wasn’t in our stars today. We drive back to the hotel and returned the rental car. The entire day we drove about 100 miles, but when I filled up the gas tank it took over 14 gallons of gas. The car should get at least 20 miles to the gallon (I still need to look it up online), but at 20 miles to the gallan, that would only be five gallons of gas. The rental agency was willing to credit me and we settled on about $30. At
$5.18 a gallon it was quite a lot of money. We walked back to the hotel and changed our dinner reservations to an hour later. We showered and tried to get rid of all the red dirt and dust from our body and hair. I decided to take a nap before dinner. One forgets how much walking around in the sun drains you.

After a few hour nap, we dressed for dinner and went to the hotel dining room, the lana’i city grille. It seemed to be the happening place. The bar was full and just about every table was occupied. Although we were a few minutes early, our table was ready and we were seated.

We ordered the crab dip appetizer and some drinks. I tried the spicy lobster and coconut bisque, which was good, but I think a bit too much coconut. I ordered the Venison Loin and Angie ordered the Meatloaf. The Venison was quite delicious and had a prune reduction sauce that I really enjoyed. Again, we didn’t ask what type of meat was in the meatloaf, but it was pretty good.

After dinner we went back to the room and crashed. I was beat from the day.



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