The terrain is rugged and
outbackish, with a small beach to the West side of the harbor and open space all around.
The airstrip is capable of landing smaller Cessnas, but it doesnt get used for that
purpose too often. More often its a place to stand and look out to the South where
Lanai and the seas beyond enchant images of navigators and seamen from by-gone days.
Translating from the native tongue, HaleoLono is the house where prayers were
offered to Lono, one of the four Gods that came from Kahiki (afar, or abroad, often
Tahiti), usually in request of good rain and crops. A fitting name for a place that is dry
but fertile and somewhat barren but beautiful.
Lono is the most logical choice to stay
overnight on a two day trip when the Penguin Banks is the fishing area of choice. The
underwater structures and FADS are all within a few miles of the harbor, so when the
days fishing leads you to the banks, you can fish all the way into the harbor, spend
the night in the solid anchorage, and get right back to the fishing grounds the following
Yacht Club boats ready for the evening
party at Lono
Hale'o'Lono Harbor looking to the west
Entry into the
harbor is easy when there is no South swell, but it requires a little timing if the surf
is of any substance. Theres three sets of range markers marking the way in, and
since the harbor itself is not much bigger than a few football fields, once inside it has
a warm cozy feel about it. The best place to tie to the wharf is at the far end towards
Maui, where the surge is not as prevalent. Better still, once there is no further need to
go ashore, is to set the hook in the middle of the basin and let the boat gently swing
back and forth in its cocoon.
On shore is an adventurers dream come
true. Most overnight trips to this refuge end up with a walk along the beach to the West,
one to the East, or both, if time permits. Whats especially fascinating about these
beaches apart from their soft sand and God-created beauty is that many times the urge to
shed oneself of clothing arises, thus adding to the majesty of the scenery. If this urge
does hit, you have nothing to worry about, because theres a better than 90% chance
you will be alone with your thoughts. Besides, even if someone does happen to see you,
chances are theyll be outfitted in the same.
|While the beaches run for miles, back at the
harbor, a full clad short hike to the top of the hill behind the harbor basin is a great
opportunity for exploration and photographic work. Try timing it when the sun is rising or
setting, as the colors of the sea, the surrounding area, the foliage, and the famous
Hawaiian Red Dirt all change every minute during these periods.
|If you keep walking up the hill youll
end up at the road and some fenced off areas. The majority of this area is owned by the
Molokai Ranch, an outfit that specializes in ranch style vacations for people looking to
do something different here in Hawaii. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his entourage are said to
frequent the camps of the Molokai Ranch, but I wouldnt spend too much time trying to
make way to seeing them. The ranch is huge, and when Arnold comes to town, the group
usually books the whole thing. Besides, the beauty of HaleoLono is too special
to spend time looking for celebrities when the sea beckons. If its stars you want to
see, just wait until nightfall.
Lono is a peaceful
place to barbecue and feast on part of the days harvest while the sun sets, and make
sure you stay awake long enough to spend part of the evening gazing at the sky. The
Southern Cross can be seen in the summertime out towards Lanai, and the darkness of the
surroundings make for the illumination of stars you never even knew existed.
Friends rafted together preparing for
the evening BBQ
|During the winter months, Lono is a good
place to launch from to see the humpback whales. The relatively shallow water of the
Penguin Banks and the South coast of Molokai is a favorite place where the whales frolic,
and between January and March it is commonplace to see the whales breach in rapid
succession, perform tail slaps for hours, wave their pectoral fins, and do other tricks in
an environment so few have witnessed. Stories of these legendary creatures abound, and for
every boater who has a tale about an incidental crossing leading to a show of power,
another angler has a story about accidentally getting too close and having the spray of a
mighty breach cover the boat.
Race Committee prepares for the sailing
race back to Oahu
|Lono is also the starting point
for a few canoe races held each year. Most of these races, well attended by paddlers,
support boats and spectators alike, depart from Lono in the early morning and end up in
the Ala Wai Canal on Oahu several hours later. The racers must challenge the mighty
Molokai channel on a downwind surfing ride toward paddling nirvana, and these events have
begun to achieve worldwide recognition.
Prayer to the God for good crops. How about an overnight harvest of fish? If you pray
right, it just might be a dream come true.