‘High adventure’: Molokini and Na Pali

Foleys on Kauai[Blog entry and photos* by Mike Foley: Originally published July 7, 2009]

Years ago when our kids were all home and finances were tight, we undertook a family project with the hopes of raising enough money to go to Disneyland: Almost every month we would label, prepare and deliver about 10,000 copies of the old Hawaii LDS News to the U.S. Post Office at the airport for bulk distribution.

I was also the editor at the time of this amazing tabloid that was started in 1967 by Alf Pratte and Ron Safsten as the Honolulu Stake Record-Bulletin (Reg Schwenke also served after me as one of the editors). The publication eventually spread throughout Hawaii, and until regional leaders decided to stop publishing it in 1991, Hawaii LDS News was the only Latter-day Saint Church-sponsored newspaper outside of the worldwide Church News.

Our family project took hours to complete each issue and it was a lot of work. To make the reward a little more immediate, each weekend after we got the newspaper out we would take some of the funds and all go out to dinner: The kids particularly liked going to the Pizza Hut restaurant in Haleiwa, which was the closest one in those days.

But as the summer we hoped to go to Disneyland drew near, we knew we didn’t have enough money for the mainland… so we planned a trip closer to home that took us to Maui and Kauai (some of us pictured above/right at the Waimea Lookout). Staying in hotels with swimming pools was definitely important to the kids, and of course we hit many of the regular visitor attractions on both islands; but our plans also included “high adventure” snorkeling off Molokini and along the Garden Island’s Na Pali coast.

Foleys on boat to MolokiniMolokini is the crescent-shaped island about 10 miles off the Kihei coast of Maui, and the combination of a marine underwater reserve and the calm clear waters of its extinct crater made for perfect, unbelievable snorkeling.

All of the kids had learned to swim from Aunty Emma Ernestburg at the BYU–Hawaii pool, so almost everybody loved the experience, with the exception of the rather rough ride from Maalaea Harbor to get there that day. There were lots of fish, and an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch on board the boat. [Pictured at left, can you guess which one of our family members was really seasick?]

On Kauai there are a number of options for snorkeling on the Na Pali coast, including smaller boats and Zodiacs leaving from Hanalei, but we opted to take a longer ride on a larger boat out of Port Allen. The kids and I particularly enjoyed watching flying fish and the dolphins racing along-side and through the bow waves . . . but the real beauty began the moment we reached the Garden Island’s north shore with its dramatic cliffs — na pali in Hawaiian, hanging waterfalls and sea caves. In fact, it’s impossible to overstate the beauty of this special place that has been featured in many movies.

The water was clear, with plenty of fish, but deeper and bluer than Molokini…and, I suspect, once again the all-you-can-eat-buffet was an important part of the appeal for the kids.

On the Na Pali coast: (left-right) Mike Foley, Sina, Gavin Daisy and Wayland
(*Derek took the picture)

As I look at pictures of much more youthful pictures of Sally and me as well as our children when they were young, I still clearly recall all the adventures, and hope our kids never forget them, too.


  1. Gavin Foley says:

    Those truly were the days, dad. I’ll never forget that summer vacation. I remember mom got so sick on the boat [to Molokini] that she was in the lua almost the whole time. Meanwhile us kids were having the time of our lives snorkeling and eating all we wanted, and like you said watching the dolphins and flying fish. I just wanted to say thanks, dad, for the sacrifices you and mom made to make that trip possible.

  2. Charlotte Odale says:

    I loved reading this and know how the family so enjoyed this earned vacation together. So fun! I immediately want to be there too.

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