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Lanai

Lanai is the sixth-largest of the Hawaiian Islands. It is also known as the Pineapple Island because of its past as an island-wide pineapple plantation. The island is somewhat comma-shaped, with a width of 18 miles in the longest direction. It is separated from the island of Molokai by the Kalohi Channel to the north, and from Maui by the ‘Au’au Channel to the east. Many of the island’s landmarks and sites are located off of dirt roads that require four wheel drive.

One of the best known locations to visit on Lanai is Puu Pehe or “Sweetheart Rock”. It is situated 150 feet (50m) offshore between Manele Bay and Hulopoe Bay along the island’s southern coastline. It is one of the islands most recognizable landmarks and also the setting for one of Hawaii’s most enduring legends. Another location, Keahikawelo or “Garden of the Gods”, is characterized by boulders of varying sizes, shapes, and colors that are the result of thousands of years of erosion.

Molokai is the fifth largest of the main Hawaiian Islands and is known as the “Friendly Isle”. It is 38×10 miles (61×16 km) in size. It lies east of Oahu across the 25 mile (40 km) wide Kaiwi Channel. Lanai and Maui are clearly visible from anywhere along the south shore. The island is built from two distinct volcanoes known as East Molokai and the much smaller West Molokai. The highest point is Kamakou on East Molokai at 4,970 feet (1,515 m). East Molokai volcano, is today all that remains standing of the southern half of the original mountain. The northern half suffered a catastrophic collapse about 1.5 million years ago and now lies as a debris field scattered across the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. What remains are among the tallest sea cliffs in the world.

One of the few natural areas remaining intact are the coastal dunes of Mo’omomi. The eastern half of the island is covered with lush rainforest that gets over 300 inches (7,600 mm) of rain per year. The high elevation forests are primarily native ‘Ohi’a lehua trees. Molokai is home to a great number of endemic plant and animal species. However, many of its species, including the oloma’o, Molokai creeper, and the Moloka’i ‘O’o have become extinct.

The best locations for photography on Lanai are Puu Pehe and the Garden of the Gods at sunset. Photographing the high seacliffs on the remote north shore of Molokai requires hiring a boat or a multi-day kayaking trip starting from the Halawa Valley. From there one can visit the Wailau Valley, Pelekuna Valley, and the Waikolu Valley. Papohaku Beach on the west shore is one of the largest and most spectacular beaches in the Hawaiian Islands.