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Moloka'i The Friendly Isle

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Unread 09-21-2007, 06:50 AM   #1
Part time Trunk Monkey
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Default Na Wahine O Ke Kai

Any paddlers here? Anyone competing?

Molokai will temporarily gain about 1000 in population for the next three days as the Na Wahine O Ke Kai cranks up, with about 80 teams of paddlers from all over the world, converging on this tiny island.

People camp everywhere here. There are only about 120 hotel rooms in the three major venues here (The Lodge, Hotel Molokai, Kaluakoi), and of course, lots of "vacation rentals" (people who buy houses as investments and rent them out for income)...but lots of teams camp in the parks, people's garages, the beaches, and on escort boats.

The locals here scramble to get supplies (food, beer, etc.) because even though the two stores on island stock up, they cannot predict how much and of what kinds of supplies will sell out first. And with our primary transport being Young Brothers coming only twice a week (last run just yesterday), we just brace and hope that we don't run out of TP or anything similarly vital, like beer.

The people started to flow in yesterday, and you could feel the effects. I was in Subway (only franchise fast-food here), and 15 people walked in the door. The workers were pleased but slammed, it was amusing to hear the mainland people be so picky when ordering sandwiches (I want mayonnaise, and ONLY A BIT of Honey Mustard...yeah, only some dots here and there, two layers of cucumbers....)...Molokai people just say "put the works on it"...

Today will be interesting. The airport will be absolutely jam packed as every flight coming in today is FULL. The rental car companies already are booked solid. People are calling me at work to see if I have cars to lend out (I don't) or rooms to use (we're full with our own canoe teams staying here). I'm gonna try to avoid Main Street (the only street with most of the stores etc.) today...I know it'll be a contrast between the laid-back culture here and the high-intensity mainland paddlers who'll probably want everything "now, now, now". Lots of others, however, are glad to be here and just "kick back".

On Sunday, the island will probably tilt a little bit as about 1/3 of Molokai goes down to Hale O Lono Harbor for the start of the race. It looks like Aloha Stadium on football day down there, everyone cooking, non-paddlers partying, and at 7:25 am, the race begins!

Then the stampede as all the support crews who didn't paddle scramble out of the harbor (3 miles up a dirt road), and head back to the airport to fly back to Honolulu before the canoes reach Waikiki. The locals pack up and mosey out, and by 9:00am, the place will be mostly deserted.
"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple."; Dr. Seuss
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