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Captain’s Log: Postcards from Moloka’i

Yesterday, due to extreme conditions in Lahaina, Hawaii, we had to cancel our port call. As an alternative we headed for the northern side of Molokiʻa for a day of scenic cruising where plateaus rise up to an elevation of 4,900 feet (1,500 meters) on Kamakou Peak. This side of the island is covered with lush wet forests that get over 300 in (7,600 mm) of rain per year. The high-elevation forests are populated by native ʻōhiʻa lehua trees and an extremely diverse endemic flora and fauna. Below 4,000 feet (1,200 meters), the vegetation is dominated by exotic flora.

Molokaʻi is known as the long-time residence of Father Damien de Veuster, a Belgian priest and canonized Roman Catholic saint who cared for sufferers of leprosy. Historically, a small north shore colony on Molokaʻi, Kalaupapa, was a refuge for sufferers of Hansen’s Disease. There are no active cases of Hansen’s Disease on Molokaʻi today. Those who continue to live in the settlement are patients who choose to stay after the segregation policy was lifted in 1969.

Darin Bowland is Zaandam’s master.

  • Jean Ragan

    What and experience! Thank you for sharing this piece of Hawaii with us. It will always be remembered.

  • Chris M.

    Looks like a great day of scenic cruising! Still, instead of tendering at Lahaina, it is too bad HAL does not send ships to dock at Kahului; the drive from there to both Hana and Haleakala is shorter than when starting from Lahaina.

  • Julie

    Hi Chris. Captain Bowland saw your comment and wanted me to let you know that the ship looked at going to Kahului as an alternative but the port was closed.

  • Jane H

    Just off the ship today…a wonderful experience sailing the coast of Molokai!

  • Janice Behler

    Just home from our Hawaiian Cruise. Loved it!! Checked out Captian Bowland’s blog and found these amazing photos. Will there be any photos of the lava flow on this blog? Thanks for the wonderful memories.

  • Bev H

    The scenic cruising was an amazing experience. Such a great day onboard the ship. We were disappointed to miss getting ashore on Maui, but unfortunately it’s a known hazard of cruising, and we appreciated the captain’s efforts to make lemonade out of lemons. Thank you Captain Bowland and all of the crew for a beautiful cruise to Hawaii–our first and hopefully not last! LOVED the aspect of having Kanoina on board as a travel advisor. We learned so much from him, and his presence, seminars, and advice enhanced the cruise greatly!

  • Shirley Sturgala

    Traveling is an adventure and Captain Bowland made this a very special adventure, cruising the world’s highest sea cliffs. Thanks for the memories and the great food.

  • Sherry

    Loved the cruise, hated coming back to reality. paradise was fantastic, enjoyed the cliffs, but would also love to see pictures of the lava flow. because my camera did not do it any justice and it is hard to explain to my children.


    Have just now gotten around to looking at Captain Darin’s blog. The Moloka’i pictures and info are PHENOMENAL. We were particularly interested in Fr. Damien’s church and connection to the Island. We were disappointed at first when we were not able to go to Lahaina, but the Moloka’i experience was just SUPER. The cruise to Hawaii on the Zaandam was our fourth cruise – the more they come, the better they get!!
    Thanks to Captain Darin Bowland (we are christening him “the People’s Captain” because he made himself so available to the passengers and was more visible during the cruise than the captains on the other cruises we have been on.



  • Diane Loflen AAA

    Where are the pictures from the lava flow on April 15 at 935pm (Zaandam). My AAA members were told they would be on the blog?

  • Julie

    Diane, I’ve just sent a note to Captain Bowland to ask about lava photos. I will let you know as soon as I hear!

  • Sherry

    have you heard any more about the lava photos? would love to relive that moment,


  • Julie

    Still waiting to hear back. I have to investigate if he is still on board.

  • Sherry

    have you heard back about pics on the lava flow?

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