Exploring the Pineapple Isle of Lana’i
By Dai Mar Tamarack, Expedition Leader on the Safari Explorer
One day out of the week, we cruise across the Au’Au Channel between Maui and Lana’i to explore the unique and infrequently visited Pineapple Island. While this name still sticks, one of the things we find out is that there are no longer any pineapples grown on Lana’i; the island now has more of a tourism economy than an agricultural economy. Lana’i’s unique history is in part because of its string of private owners. It has been owned by ranchers, farmers, real estate moguls, and is currently owned by a software businessman.
For the most part, the 8,500 residents of the island have dealt with the changing owners and directions of the island’s economy with stoic perseverance. They have switched from working in the pineapple fields to working in the hotel industry. Hunting is a major pastime on the island for the mostly Philippine-Hawaiian population. The island still has a bit of a plantation-town feel to it although a budding local artisan community has ensconced itself in the one town, called Lanai City. Although ‘city’ is a far stretch of a name.
We explore this island completely, with snorkeling, hikes, kayaks and skiff tours. We also take time in the town itself to wander around the old Dole Park and immerse ourselves into history at the Culture and History Center. Out of all the islands, Lana’i seems to be the one where guests want to buy property the most often. These are the kinds of out of the way places we want to introduce you to when you take an UnCruise trip.