Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Settling into life in Molokai

Well hello again! It’s been absolutely ages since the last blog post, but now that we’re so far away from friends and family, I will definitely be updating regularly, keeping you up to date on what’s going on in our life. I’d also love to hear from you, either with a comment at the end of a post (anyone can leave a comment! If you don’t have a google account, just choose the anonymous option and make sure you sign your name at the end of your comment!) or via email. I miss you all! Communication with loved ones takes on a whole new meaning and importance when we’re far away from you all!

We arrived on Molokai one week ago and are slowly getting settled into a somewhat different lifestyle than we’re used to! We arrived with 14 (yes, 14!!!) pieces of luggage…. 9 suitcases, 3 rubbermaids and 2 large bike boxes. We are caretaking a house and property for a very generous man named Virgil, who lives most of the time in Alaska. John met him in Melbourne last year where they were both doing a Permaculture Design course. One thing led to another and now we’re here for the winter…or possibly longer….depending on how it all goes!

One of our patios with the view of the ocean in the background.

Sunset from the patio.

We’ve spent our first days unpacking, deep cleaning the house, hanging out at the beach and checking out this end of the island. We‘re living on the very dry, windy west side of the island! We have found some lovely beaches, some safe for swimming and some just plain gorgeous but with huge waves and strong rips.

The little village closest to us is called Maunaloa – about a 20 minute drive – with a small “grocery” store, a post office, a cool kite shop and a rec. center. (I’m going to check out a Zumba class at the rec center this evening!) For real grocery shopping we need to go into the main town called Kaunakakai (pronounced Caw-na-ka-kye) which is about a 30 minute drive. The town consists of a couple of streets with a handful of stores, a nice little natural food store, a great little library (we got a card the first day here and have already been enjoying our library books!), a community center, a school and a gas station. I have not been buying enough food when we’ve been in town to last us until the next shop! I realize I have to stock up… buy 3 pineapples instead of 1! I’ll have to get more organized, perhaps create a week’s menu before shopping each week!

One of the treasures on this island is Kumu farms – a beautiful organic farm with a farmstand and lovely produce. They are open 4 days a week, so again… I’ll have to plan my days in town accordingly!

We’ve been enjoying delicious papayas off the trees around the house. Sweet, tree ripened papayas with a squeeze of lime (off the neighbor’s tree!)…. Yum! The neighbors have also gifted us with bananas of f their tree and fresh eggs from their chickens. Lucky us!

Yesterday we went on a bit of an adventure. We took a crazy 4x4 road to a gorgeous white sand beach where we spent a good part of the day swimming, snorkeling, and collecting beautiful shells. The kids loved playing in the clear water, had fun in the gentle surf and enjoyed playing in the sand.

 John drove the truck, Bella rode shotgun and Zara, Thor and I bounced around in the back! The beach was truly gorgeous, but not sure we’ll be doing that drive again anytime soon!!

Some of the shells Zara and John collected while snorkeling at the beach!

Our nightly entertainment has been watching the big screen….. the sky that is! Most nights we sit out after dinner (it’s pitch black by 7pm), snuggle up with blankets and just watch the stars. With so little light around here, the number of stars visible is mind blowing! We watch planes come and go from Honolulu (we can see the city lights way off in the distance from our patio), we oooh and aaww over shooting stars and listen to the night song. A few nights ago we saw the most incredible shooting star drop straight down out of the sky with a massive, bright tail…. we were all afraid it was going to land right in front of us! I have no idea what is was….a meteor? a comet? Perhaps a once in a lifetime sighting!

We checked out a neat group yesterday for Zara called Youth in Motion. They meet twice a week for stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and other watersports. Zara paddled for hours yesterday and really enjoyed it! Next time we go I’ll wear my bathing suit and paddle too!

I have been surprised at what a transition it’s been to move here. I’ve had a hard time reconciling the difference between the reality of being here vs. what I thought it would be like… my expectations. It’s not like we’ve moved to China…. I mean we’re still in the USA! But it feels so different… I have to admit there were a few pity parties going on during those first few days! More than just a few times I thought “What the heck was I thinking?!?!!?” BUT…as the days go by it feels easier. I’m trying to live in the moment and just BE here, with my family and embrace the adventure with all its ups and downs. As you can see from the pictures, we're seeking out the beauty and enjoying what this island has offer. Aloha from all of us!


  1. Wow! It looks beautiful yet a little wild from your amazing photos. I have to admit, we've been talking alot of you all and Molokai since your visit here. We are seriously considering a winter holiday out there. What airline did you fly on? Do you know if there are inexpensive rentals near you and could you get us some contact info? You can email me thru FB. Can't wait to hear more!
    ~Mel & family

  2. aloha! loved your first hawaiian post! Lots of beauty all around you, from what the photos show. The stars at night would be a wonder to behold every night, lucky you! you've only been there one week and you've done so much already. I think you'll settle in quickly and get accustomed to that island lifestyle, i.e. stocking up on groceries!

    keep it you and miss you xoxo

  3. Hi Jacq, thanks for pictures and the update...we can picture at least a little where you are. The beach, shells, fruit...enjoy!
    We are going to call you soon and let the kids have a chat as well. Love you, jb

  4. Hi...Looks like you have found some good bits...keep it real! Laugh lots!!
    What is John doing? How about before and after pictures?
    The water looks wonderful! Keep the updates coming. =>

  5. Love the pictures! What a stunning place to live! Definitely a big change from here, but it sounds like it's starting to feel like home. Those amazing little moments (the stars, the adventures) are such treasures! Enjoy this family time! xoxo

  6. OOh makes me miss that part of the world. How lovely! xx Holly

  7. Cool! I have never seen a papaya on the tree! Hawaii is just sooooo beautiful - enjoy . Marj M

  8. wow! love it! keep posting!!! xoxo, m-s

  9. Amazing! Your kids are so lucky to have such a diverse experience! They'll remember these times for the rest of their lives and shape who they are forever going forward. Only good can come out of such an adventure.
    Love you guys! Sal xxx

  10. Love that first photo - the blue water looks so close to your patio. Glad to hear you are settling in. Can't resist sending along this quote about expectations. ;-) Love to you and family.

    “A wonderful gift may not be wrapped as you expect.”
    ― Jonathan Lockwood Huie

  11. Anonymous
    Hello Im glad we found your blog . We are planning a trip to Molokai in November 2012 for a whole month and would love to have someone that is there for info. Is is windy everyday this time of year on the west side where you are staying we are planning for rent a condo in kaliokoi or ka nani kai . It will just be my wife and I . We really like the idea of no crowds and peacful a break from the rat race of Seattle area. I work for the Dept of Corrections so it will be nice to come and unwind on that gorgeous island. Your photos look beautiful must be nice to just slow down and really get a taste of what life should be all about.

  12. Oh we are Scott and Karin by the way we live near Seattle Washington. It looks incredible on Molokai.

  13. Hello agian,
    If you like you can e-mail us at with any info you would like to share with us about Molokai.
    Thanks agian Scott and Karin

  14. Hey there!
    We are thinking about doing the same as you have done and moving to Molokai and would love to know of any good permaculturists on the island and your overall experience. I would love to talk to your husband as well since I trained in Australia with Geoff Lawton in permaculture. It sounds like our families have a lot in common. Would love to hear from you,
    Titus Blair

  15. HI! I know this post is a few years old, and it looks like you don't live in Molokai anymore (?) but my husband and I are also considering a move to Molokai because of a job opportunity for him there. I know its crazy and it would be a huge lifestyle change for us (we have never even visited Hawaii) ...but could you please share some insight? Please email me when you get a chance:

    Thank you!

  16. Similar to what some others have written, would love to chat with you about your experiences! We are considering a move to Molokai, I am from Melbourne and we currently live in Alaska! Sounds lie our families are similar in many ways and would love some input if you still check these comments! My email is