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  • Unhurried Molokai - 1 of 14

    Unhurried Molokai

    Home to about 8,000 residents, the island of Molokai features a rare blend of stunning natural beauty, authentic cultural experiences, and a chance to soak in some old Hawaii charm. Only 38 miles long and 10 miles wide, the island also offers travelers a glimpse into the gripping history of its Kalaupapa leprosy settlement. Pictured here, Molokai's towering North Shore sea cliffs. Photos by Shane Nelson; posted May 25, 2012

  • Unhurried Molokai - 2 of 14

    Unhurried Molokai

    This roadside sign, featuring a likeness of an ancient Hawaiian chief, is not only good advice for drivers but also for visitors. Life moves at a far more relaxed pace on Molokai and that unhurried approach is part of the destination's appeal.

  • Unhurried Molokai - 3 of 14

    Unhurried Molokai

    Jutting away from Molokai's northern shore, the remote Kalaupapa peninsula was a forced isolation settlement for Hansen's Disease, or leprosy, patients from 1866 to 1969. Still home to about a dozen Hansen's patients today, the peninsula is a National Historic Park, managed by the National Parks Service, and welcomes no more than 100 sanctioned visitors each day.

  • Unhurried Molokai - 4 of 14

    Unhurried Molokai

    A Belgian missionary, Father Damien de Veuster first traveled to Molokai in 1873 to help care for the more than 700 Hansen's patients quarantined on the Kalaupapa peninsula at the time. He spent 16 years there before succumbing to the illness himself in 1889 at age 49. He was canonized by the Catholic Church in 2009. This bust of Father Damien sits in St. Philomena's Catholic Church on the peninsula's west coast.

  • Unhurried Molokai - 5 of 14

    Unhurried Molokai

    After his death in 1889, Saint Damien was buried next to St. Philomena's Catholic Church, seen here near Kalawao on the eastern coast of the Kalaupapa peninsula. Only his right hand remains interred at this site today, with the rest of his remains buried in Leuven, Belgium, near the village where he was born.

  • Unhurried Molokai - 6 of 14

    Unhurried Molokai

    Iolani Charters offers flights down to Kalaupapa and tours over Molokai's spectacular North Shore's sea cliffs. The only other way to access the peninsula is by mule or on foot down a steep 2.9 mile cliff face trail featuring 26 switchbacks. Here the pilot discusses the yellow life preservers required during air tours in the company's 4-seat plane.

  • Unhurried Molokai - 7 of 14

    Unhurried Molokai

    This image, taken shortly after take off, features the jagged, lava rock shoreline of the peninsula's eastern coast and Molokai's sea cliffs in the distance.

  • Unhurried Molokai - 8 of 14

    Unhurried Molokai

    Molokai's North Shore sea cliffs are the tallest in the world with some towering more than 3,600 feet above the ocean.

  • Unhurried Molokai - 9 of 14

    Unhurried Molokai

    Hawaiian culture has enjoyed a substantial resurgence on Molokai and one of the best places for visitors to enjoy an authentic Hawaiian experience is on the island's eastern edge at Halawa Valley. Here Uncle Pilipo, who grew up in the valley, explains the offerings placed at a traditional shrine.

  • Unhurried Molokai - 10 of 14

    Unhurried Molokai

    Visitors can join guided hikes into Halawa Valley that travel to the distant waterfall visible in this image. Hawaiian stories, lessons about plants and animals and a chance to swim in the waterfall's pool are all part of the trip.

  • Unhurried Molokai - 11 of 14

    Unhurried Molokai

    A sandy beach fronts the bay at the eastern edge of Molokai's Halawa Valley.

  • Unhurried Molokai - 12 of 14

    Unhurried Molokai

    A handful of journalists were the only folks around during a recent visit to sandy Papohaku Beach Park on Molokai's west coast.

  • Unhurried Molokai - 13 of 14

    Unhurried Molokai

    A morning rain shower shadows the sun over Molokai Plumerias, a plumeria farm two miles east of Kaunakakai. Agricultural tours are another popular visitor attraction on the Friendly Isle.

  • Unhurried Molokai - 14 of 14

    Unhurried Molokai

    Molokai visitors looking to mail home a unique gift may want to stop by the post office in Hoolehua, where customers can buy a coconut, address it, and ship it--sans any box or packaging -- all in one stop.

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