At one time there were as many as 60 ancient fish ponds along the shallow south coast of Molokai. Most date back to the 13th century and are semi-circular and composed of lava rock and coral. Fish would swim into the pond during high tide and as the tide subsided, the fish would be trapped.
Currently there are 2 ponds designated as national historical landmarks including the Kakakaia Pond pictured. This pond has also been turned into a wetland bird sanctuary.
It's about a 5 minute walk through a forest of soft-looking ironwood trees to get to the Kalaupapa lookout.
Another site within walking distance of the same parking area is the 6 foot Phallic Rock or "*** of Nanahoa". Through the ages women would bring offerings and spend the night in the hopes of conceiving a child. I'm sorry I missed this and don't have a photo to share.
If visiting Molokai for a day only, it's not possible to see both the leper colony at Kalaupapa and drive the island. Torn between what to do we chose the later but hope to return someday to visit the colony.
The National Park & settlement are located on a peninsula at the center of the island on the north shore. The peninsula is separated by a 1660 foot bluff which isolates it from the rest of the island. Because of this isolation, people afflicted with leprosy were banished here beginning 1866 all the way up to 1969. Back in the 1860's leprosy was spreading throughout the islands so this was an attempt to contain the disease. In 1873 Father Damien, a catholic priest from Belgium arrived in an attempt to assist the colony. He ended up living there until his death of the disease in 1889.
Access to the peninsula is by plane, hiking or mule. Permission is required and visitors must be 16 years old.
While driving the length of the island, we did stop at the Kalaupapa Lookout which afforded us with spectacular views of the peninsula and informational plaques describing the hardships of the lepers banished here.
Molokai has a very special and various scenery. You can find some of the world's highest sea cliffs rising majestically to meet the clouds on Molokai's North Coast (Pali Coast). The ocean has carved away the old volcano as high as 3000 feet. There are several uninhabited valleys, the largest being Pelekunu and Wailau, with waterfalls cascading from nearly 2,000 feet to the sea. This untouched wilderness, accessible only by helicopter, by boat, or by foot, is a hiker's paradise. The numerous trails lead to spectacular overlooks, historic sites and secluded forest pools. The Pali Coast was the background for some scenes from the famous Jurassic Park blockbuster.
Mo-omomi Sand Dunes are a vast stretch of Nature Conservency land along the windswept western north coast of Moloka'i.
If you cannot take the muleride down to Kalaupapa, you should at least catch a glimpse of it. It's a nice stroll through an ironwood forest to the overlook.
Molokai's east coast is lush and tropical. The road ends at the beautiful Halawa Valley, the only valley accessible by car, with gorgeous waterfalls and two picturesque pebble bays.
The interior is quite small but charming and is 8-10 pews deep. Masses are still given once a week on Sundays at 7:15 a.m.
Another church built by Father Damien in 1876, the 2nd oldest on Molokia, and on the National Register of historical places. It is located right next to highway 450 on the ocean side.