First order of business to score a little freebie on your way to naked surfing beach, a.k.a Papohaku Beach: Pay attention to the available flight schedules. Some airlines, like Pacific Wings, make stops in Kalaupapa. Which sits at the base of some of the tallest (2,000 feet) sea cliffs in the world. Of course Kalaupapa is also a former leper colony and is super duper hard to get to.
You can book a mule trip down there, or take an expensive flight direct, or hike down from the gate only locals know the location of, or just cruise in for free on your way to Molokai’s main airport in Kaunakakai. And don’t worry, there are only 15 active cases of leprosy now. But some people are so scarred from the disease that re-entering society might be…awkward. The take away here is that Kaunakakai is a gorgeous and isolated place that very few people in the world get to see, and you might just plop down here for free.
So, the airport in Kalaupapa is pretty awesome. One pay phone, one fire extinguisher. And yeah, that’s our plane. Rock star parking. The airport was, oh, fairly quiet.
Okay well that was fun. This is a black lava field where Kalaupapa meets the ocean.
Let’s go fly over some sea cliffs with waterfalls dropping straight into the ocean.
Okay, now first manner of business is to stock up on goodies from Moloka’i’s only health food store, the Outpost. You know you want it.
And stop to pet the mushrooms! Which, my dad the mycologist informs me, are a fungus called coprinus. What does that mean dad? It means “shit-eater, honey.”
“And they’re edible.”
So Papohaku beach is a three mile long stretch of sand. It’s one of Hawaii’s longest white sand beaches, and the sand is so freaking perfect that Waikiki once bought a bunch to amp up their supply. True story.
Now, only is Papohaku vast and gorgeous and it’s virtually yours. It’s rare to pass someone on Papohaku. And yet, it has bathrooms and picnic tables. And waves.
Sometimes the high tide comes up high enough to leave water in between banks of sand that warm up in the sun. The tide only changes by 3 feet every day in Hawaii, but that’s enough. It makes perfect calm pools to chill in if waves aren’t your thing.
So, we look up the beach. Glaring sun, blue water.. nobody. Down the beach. We eye each other. Screw bathing suits!
Were there waves? Where they even good? Well yes and no. In that order. But who cares? I was too busy being gloriously naked on a beach in Hawaii.