Mokulele Airlines Cessna 208 Grand Caravan Ho’olehua to Kahului

Mokulele Airlines Cessna 208 Grand Caravan Ho’olehua to Kahului

I can’t recall a single moment in my life prior to this trip that I had thought that I ever wanted to visit Molokai, so I’m very thankful that this flight made a brief stop on this amazingly beautiful Island. It’s not like I have anything against Molokai – it’s just that I didn’t know a thing about it before this trip and there are so many other places in the Hawaiian island chain that I’ve always wanted to visit instead.

For that reason alone, I had always considered it to be just a “flyover” island that poked out of the water right between the other (more interesting) islands. Big thanks to Mokulele Airlines for dropping me here at MKK to show me what I’ve been missing. I’m definitely going to spend time on Molokai someday!

Ho’olehua, HI (MKK) – Kahului, HI (OGG)
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Aircraft: Cessna 208 Grand Caravan
Registration: N839MA
Duration: 27 minutes
Seat: row 1 (right side)

mokulele airlines cessna 208 grand caravan livery
Mokulele Airlines Cessna 208 Grand Caravan (N839MA) side view illustration by
flight map from MKK to OGG
Unfortunately, (the website I use to get these flight maps) does not have an accurate map of this flight. We actually flew along the northern coast of Molokai and then dropped right down onto Maui, but this map doesn’t show that at all. Oh well.

Even though we were only scheduled to be on the ground for a few minutes, I took the opportunity to walk around a bit outside the terminal in order to ingest as much of that clean and fresh Hawaiian air as possible. I was not feeling all that well after the inbound flight from Honolulu – the bumpy ride combined with my mistake of watching my camera more than the horizon brought feelings of motion sickness on well before we landed, so I tried as hard as I could to shake that off before getting back on that plane.

Past experience has taught me that motion sickness is not something that can be cured within minutes, but I tried to put that out of my mind as best I could and focused more on positive thoughts instead. “I’m having fun. I’m having lot’s of fun. This is fun dammit!”

MKK molokai airport
Hanging out in the arrivals (and baggage claim) section of MKK.
MKK airport interior
I wasn’t even sure what I was supposed to do. Do I hang out here? Or go inside and wait? Don’t leave without me guys!
MKK airport ticketing and check in
I decided to play it safe and go inside. It turns out that was the right thing to do, as the departure gate is on the opposite end of this ticketing hall.

The Ho’olehua airport is neat little facility, with a heavy emphasis on “little”. It’s just a small building with enough chairs and ticket counters to make it look like a legit airport, and there’s even a bit of security equipment too like x-ray machines and metal detectors. But none of that security stuff was in use today, as I was able to walk out of the airport completely, and then walk right back in and into the gate area without anyone saying a word. A totally weird feeling – especially in a US airport.

MKK airport security
There is security and agricultural scanning equipment here, but none of it was in use today. Interesting.
MKK airport inside
It definitely feels like a Hawaiian airport with all that natural wood.

Seat assignments were called out by the Mokulele agent right at the boarding door. I was told that I would be seated in row 1, so I took my spot in the first position in line. Row 1! Score! That meant that I’d have the chance to look over the shoulders of the pilots during this flight, and possibly offer suggestions if I had any. I’m sure the pilots would love to hear “do a barrel roll!!” coming from the AvGeek seated right behind them…

mokulele cessna 208 MKK
Waiting by the door and getting ready to walk out to the airplane.
N839MA MKK airport terminal
Here we go. Back to N839MA for the quick hop over to OGG.
N839MA mokulele airlines MKK
A familiar view now. I’ve been here before…
boarding door mokulele airlines cessna 208
It’s the co-pilot’s job to get everyone onboard.

I was the second passenger to board the plane, so I decided to sit on the right side (which had a better view of the first officer). Although I was told to sit in row 1, there are two seats for every row so I was able to pick which side I wanted. That was a nice little perk. It ended up being quite a good seat (if a bit small), and the excitement of sitting up there right over the pilot’s shoulders was enough for me to forget about my motion sickness all together.

mokulele airlines pilot
Not a bad place to sit, eh?
mokulele airlines cessna 208 leg room
It was a kind of a tight fit trying to get my backpack down on the floor, but overall not too bad.

After another brief welcome by the pilot, we were off. The nice thing about tiny airports like this is that there is absolutely no waiting to take off. Simply close the doors, fire it up, and roll down the runway.

mkk airport molokai
Making the turn and heading out.
MKK airport control tower
There really isn’t a lot of airport infrastructure here. That’s the control tower in the distance.
taxi to runway MKK airport
It was too bad that the taxi out to the runway was so short – it’s really beautiful here and I wanted to see more!

The climb out of MKK was one of the most beautiful takeoffs I have ever experienced in my life despite the gloomy weather and windows that were covered in condensation. Following the rugged landscape of the northern shores of Molokai was a near religious experience – the lush green cliffs were simply mesmerizing, and I actually spent more time watching with my own eyes rather than taking pictures. The island of Molokai is desolate and largely untouched, and I will return again someday. I will. There’s no doubt about it.

mokulele airlines cessna 208 MKK departure
Also a bit disappointing was the heavy blue tint on the windows. The colors were so vivid in real life and these blue-tinted pics don’t do it justice.
SANspotter selfie mokulele airlines
So much to see out there!
flying over molokai coast
Beautiful Molokai – even in dreary weather such as this.
molokai coast from the air
We flew along the northern coast for a while, and all I could think was “Jurassic Park”. I didn’t spot any dinosaurs today unfortunately…
molokai coastal terrain
I can only imagine what it would be like down there on the beach in nice sunny weather. Pure heaven!
SANspotter selfie cessna 208
Theres nothing quite like gobs of beautiful scenery to mask any feelings of motion sickness. I was feeling great at this point actually!
flying along molokai coast
No caption. Just look at that!

The water crossing portion of this flight was very short. Molokai and Maui are very close together, so there was quite a bit of beautiful scenery to watch for a majority of the flight. I think being able to see land (and a clear horizon) helped me to feel much better on this flight – I only started feeling ill whenever I was focusing on the controls in the cockpit, and I could always remedy the bad feelings with look to the outside world instead. Being in row 1 might have also helped in this regard. It felt a lot less bumpy up there compared to being all the way in the back like I was on the previous leg.

northwestern Maui
Skimming slow and low over northwestern Maui.
looking down on Maui
I really had some bad luck with the weather on this trip so far. It was pretty gloomy out there, but at least the flights weren’t cancelled.

The descent into OGG was gloomy and wet, but still very interesting since I was able to watch the pilots glide us all the way in. It should be noted that this was not my first time here on Maui and OGG. The last time was way back in September of 2000, which now that I think about it, is quite unacceptable. That was far too long ago. I need to go back ASAP and get reacquainted with this place!

approaching OGG
My sincerest apologies to the Hawaii Board of Tourism for posting what are probably the ugliest pictures of Maui ever taken. Sorry! This is all Mother Nature gave me to work with today!
mokulele airlines cessna 208 pilots
“I just want to tell you both good luck. We’re all counting on you.”
approaching OGG
More gloomy Maui pics from the approach. For those that have never been here, this is actually one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been – these pics are a horrible representation of what it’s actually like here!
arrival at OGG
Welcome to Kahului! Do I at least win an award for “ugliest Maui pics ever” – or something? These are NOT the pics I was imagining when I booked these flights. #fail
OGG airport arrival
Just like I remember it from the last time I flew into OGG – dry grass everywhere. Though it wasn’t so dry today…
mokulele airlines cessna 208 OGG airport
Ok, well, this flight has come to an end. It was a ton of fun for sure, but the photographer in me walked off this plane feeling highly unsatisfied. My apologies for the gloomy and dreary pictures in this trip report!

Unfortunately, there was no time to get reacquainted with Maui on this brief stopover. Just like how we did it on our arrival to MKK, they booted everyone off the plane and had us walk into the terminal for a few minutes so that they could prepare for the final leg over to Kona – the longest leg of this island-hopping adventure. I was able to fend off the feelings of motion sickness for now, but the worst was yet to come…

Comments (4)

  1. John S

    June 10, 2017
    • SANspotter

      June 10, 2017
  2. Jason

    May 27, 2019
    • SANspotter

      May 28, 2019

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