On the Cruise… Island Hopping, The Valley Island – Maui
Geoff started our first adventure back on the Big Island with a helicopter ride. For Maui, our last island adventure I reached into my bucket list and pulled out the slip that said “Go fly in Hawaii.” The intention being for me to fly the airplane, not just be a passenger. So, I arranged to rent an airplane at Maui Aviators, Kahului Airport, Maui, Hawaii. I also hired a local instructor to ride along and help me with the radio work and act as tour guide.
I had it planned out in advance exactly where I wanted to fly. The weather caused some on the spot modifications to my flight plan but I got mostly, call it 90% of what I wanted to do. Here’s plot of how we went from Maui to Molokai to Lanai and back to Maui. The magenta line is the first leg we flew.
With Chip in the right front seat, Geoff had the entire back seat and all the cameras to himself. If I go again, I feel comfortable enough to leave Chip on Maui and let Geoff, or whoever, sit up front in the right seat.
The pink line was the first leg of the trip, starting at the lower end from Kahului Airport along the Maui coastline then across the water to the eastern tip of Molokai Island. At the center top of Molokai is an airport on the Kalaupapa Peninsula. You can see it in the forground here with the colony in the background
Kalaupapa was once a notorious leper colony established by Father Damian. When I was on Molokai in the 70s on a Navy project, it was still serving a population of lepers. At last report, according to one source, that population has diminished to 14.
After doing a touch-and-go landing at the airport my original plan was to fly inland over the pineapple plantations and do another landing at the main airport. The clouds hanging over the island dictated and change in plans and instead we flew west around the western tip of the island and headed for Lanai. These buildings on the western tip were used in WW II as strategic lookouts against a Japanese invasion.
Discounting Nihau Island ([privately owned, population ~130), Lanai is the least populated of all the inhabited islands. Lanai’s only industry is tourism. We did another touch-and-go landing at the only airport…
and once again the low clouds interfered with my original plan to fly over the middle of the island. Skirting around the south shores we headed for Maui.
Just offshore we circled around the Star Princess for a few pictures then headed for a popular SCUBA dive spot, Molokini Island. Formed by a lava eruption and then eroded by ocean currents, some call it the best SCUBA and snorkeling site in the entire island chain.
We may not have put our shoes on the dirt on two of them, but I claim Geoff and I visited six of the seven Hawaiian Islands in our four-day adventure.
If you ever want a totally different experience, contact Maui Aviators, ask for Chip Remmert and tell him you want to do a three island round-robin just like Casey did. Even if you don’t have a license the company will take you on a ‘flight-seeing’ jaunt. Below, Chip on the left with two haolis.