As a youth I had the opportunity to travel to Hawaii. It was a working vacation. I traveled to the island of Lanai. During the late 70's when I traveled to Hawaii, it was a beautiful hidden island almost untouched by man. The island was owned by Dole Pineapple, and there were about 20,000 acres of pineapple. I worked as a pineapple picker and planter.
Â Lanai was absolutely beautiful. I was drawn to it because of its peace and tranquility. Here is an island in the midst of the Hawaiaan islands that is almost desolate. There were just a few hundred people living on Lanai, and these were native Islanders that worked in the pineapple fields. As far as business I remember that there was a post office, a liquor store, a gas station and small grocery store combination. and a large community building. There was one hotel named Lanai Hotel. It boasted a whopping 10 rooms. It was set aside for special visitors and Dole Pineapple dignitaries when they came for business or pleasure.
Â I remember rising each morning for my six month stay and after having a wonderful breakfast that always included rice; going to a motor pool and climbing in the back of large open cattle trucks. We rode side by side with the natives as we were trucked to the pineapple fields to either plant the crop or pick it for the day. We exchanged wonderful traditions and pieces of heritage with these wonderful people.
Lanai, was basically untouched civilization. You could take a hike to Keahiakawelo, also known as the garden of the Gods. There was no charge no fee no guide. Every afternoon we loaded into the back of trucks at the end of the work day and went to Kaiolohia otherwise known as shipwreck beach. There were no tourists, no concession stands. There were only a few boys, enjoying themselves. At that time it was actually legal to dive to the ocean floor and retrieve pieces of corral, from the corral reefs. I was able to lay claim to some beautiful corral treasures.
Â On some days we would travel to what was known as Hulope Bay. When I visited this bay, it was so beautiful, there were no tourists, no hotels no civilization except for a few boys having some fun. However, I understand know that since the late 80's civilization hit Lanai. The pineapple fields are no longer, except a very limited amount of acreage. Something about labor not being competitive enough, so Dole took there operations elsewhere.
Hulope Bay is now what fronts the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay. I understand this to be a beautiful resort that if you were giving it a star rating, You would run out of stars. Well I have a new dream and that is to return to Lanai and spend a few days at one of Lanai's resorts. I definitely think it would be a step up from the small 2 room log cabins that we lived in during my youthful stay on Lanai.
Â On the weekends we would go for long hikes. I did not know the name of the trails, however we would often end up at a very high point on the island, that appeared untouched by civilization. I understand know that I spent some time on the Munro trail that led to the highest point on the island, known as Lanaihale.
Â Well the wonderful memories of Lanai as a youth makes me feel privileged for being able to spend so much time in a piece of Hawaii that was basically untouched by civilization. Lanai was once the location where Dole Pineapple had most of there pineapple crop, however Lanai has now transformed itself into a high class resort destination. Lanai no longer owned by Dole Pineapple now is quickly catching up with other resort destinations.
Â What was once a 100% self guided tour is now controlled by tour guides, paid hikes. Lanai boasts a few of the most lavish and beautiful resorts in the Hawaiian Islands. I have mixed feelings about returning to Lanai, since I know I will remember Lanai as a piece of Hawaii that had not been christened with resorts, hotels, golf courses and tourism. However maybe if I am able to return, I can still find a place where I can sneak off by myself and stand high on a crest overlooking the ocean and feel that sense of being in an untouched piece of Hawaii. However I am not going to complain about returning to the resort and soaking in a wonderful resort spa and being pampered by resort staff. I am excited for the day I am able to return to the Island of Lanai and get back in touch with those fond childhood memories.