Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mokolii Island (Chinaman's Hat)

It has always been my wish to step afoot on that island, an island that many locals know about but only a few can say they've been there. One day, I was inspired by a girl who has done it at least a dozen times. She reassured me that there are no sharks and the distance between is absolutely swimmable. In my mind, I said, "if she can do it, so can I!" I called my friend that afternoon and in a few hours, we arrived at Kualoa Beach Park. Luckily, there were no signs indicating high levels of bacteria. Those signs were posted everywhere years ago and swimming in the beach was strictly prohibited. The sanitary conditions were the least of our worries; it was late in the afternoon, and we were concerned about sharks.

We wasted no time getting in the water. We swam while carrying our slippers for the hike up to the summit. The water was shallow most of the way but there was a portion that got deep, deep enough for large animals, like sharks, to pass through. Fortunately, there were no encounters, not even a hammerheard! After twenty minutes of swimming, we finally arrived at our destination. The island is full of ants! But as I turned back to see the misty windward coast, I was in awe to finally see what I used to see only in photos.

The short trail to the summit began on a steep dirt hill narrowed by pokey plants that didn't make the hike any easier. There were occasional slips due to the loose dirt. We were forced on all fours with our wet hands mixing in with the dirt. We arrived at the rocky section where the trail became ambiguous. We tried to find the safest and less technical route as we climbed on near vertical walls. One misstep would be disastrous but fear did not slow us down, we proceeded carefully up the final stretch to the peak. When we got to the top, we could finally say that we conquered Mokolii. The panoramic view is one of the best on the island and well worth the risk.

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