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.