Places to stay in Molokai while paddling

The mouth of Halawa Valley, located at the ext...
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The Molokai Hoe is one of the most grueling annual team sporting events in Hawaii, second only to football. As one of the longest-standing occasions, the Moloka’i Hoe perpetuates one of Hawaii’s most important and historic cultural traditions. The Molokai Hoe tests the limits of physical and mental strength and endurance, courage, determination, and teamwork. In a battle with some of nature’s most extreme elements, the more than thousand paddlers from around the world that compete must face rising swells, strong currents, and unfavorable winds.

The event starts on the western shores of the small island of Molokai and ends in Honolulu after crossing the deep and treacherous Kaiwi Channel. Because of the sport’s popularity, most of Molokai’s hotels and places to stay are booked months in advance and are full to capacity for the weeks leading up to the big race. Some of the more popular hotels include Hotel Molokai, Castle Kaluakoi Villas Hotel, Marc Molokai Shores Suites, and Wavecrest Resort. While the island doesn’t feature large, brand-name chain hotels nor does it feature any fancy brands or upscale accommodations, the comfortable and relaxing places provide paddlers with a relaxing night of sleep before the big race. An alternative to staying in a hotel is finding Molokai vacation rentals. While quite rare, such properties are often cheaper.

Kalaupapa: Colony Turned Community

KAPALUA, HI - OCTOBER 16: Morgan Pressel of th...
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Isolated from the rest of Molokai by towering sea cliffs on the topside of the island, the peninsula and community of Kalaupapa is a small village located on the northernmost point of Molokai. The 3,315-foot sea cliffs, the highest in the world, form a tremendous backdrop. Besides their natural beauty, the sea cliffs have managed to keep Kalaupapa separated from the rest of the world for centuries. The peninsula is so remote and inaccessible that it was used as a leprosy settlement in 1783. At that time, Father Damien started the community to separate the terminally-ill people from the rest of the population to avoid its spread throughout Hawaii. At its peak, Kalaupapa was home to more than 1,200 men, women, and children who were sent into exile. It wasn’t until 1969 that the practice of banishing affected patients was repealed. Today, only about twenty patients of the now-called Hansen’s Disease still live in Kalaupapa, amongst a diverse range of other residents and the peninsula is now called the Kalaupapa National Historical Park. While the peninsula may not be the most prime Molokai real estate, it certainly is one of the most unique. Hand-in-hand with the local culture and laid back attitude of people on the island, the community today works to be self sufficient and thrives on its own with only a weekly cargo plane delivering goods to supplement occasional product shipments by sea.

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