Swim Alternatives To Cross Kealaikahiki Channel and Alalakeiki Channel In Hawaii
For many years now, swimming between Kahoolawe and Lanai in the Kealaikahiki Channel and swimming between Maui and Kahoolawe in the Alalakeiki Channel has been strictly prohibited. Restrictions not only prohibit boaters from getting close to the island, but also swimmers from touching land.
Davianna Pomaika’i McGregor, PhD, Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa explains, “Below are the purposes of the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve under state law. Fundraising is considered a commercial use. Also, in the past, requests to swim from Kahoʻolawe across the channel have been denied by the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission.
[§ 6K-3] Reservation of uses.
(a) The Kaho`olawe island reserve shall be used solely and exclusively for the following purposes:
(1) Preservation and practice of all rights customarily and traditionally exercised by native Hawaiians for cultural, spiritual, and subsistence purposes;
(2) Preservation and protection of its archaeological, historical, and environmental resources;
(3) Rehabilitation, revegetation, habitat restoration, and preservation; and
(b) The island shall be reserved in perpetuity for the uses enumerated in subsection (a). Commercial uses shall be strictly prohibited. [L 1993, c 340, pt of §2].”
Ultimately, this leaves swimmers with 6 choices unless they want to tackle the 115.8 km Kaieiewaho Channel. There is another way for swimmers to potentially tally up Hawaiian Channel swims. After extensive research, Dr. Steven Minaglia propose the following for consideration:
1. Swim from Maui around Molokini and back to Maui. This swim is approximately the same distance as the 7-mile Alalakeiki Channel.
2. Swim from Molokini to Lanai. This swim of 24 miles exceeds the Kealaikahiki Channel by 7 miles.
“A note about Molokini – Molokini Shoal is a crescent shaped islet located in the Alalakeiki Channel about 3 miles off Maui’s southern coast.
Swimming around Molokini does not appear problematic. Swimming from Molokini to Lanai is problematic in the sense that there are no sandy beaches on Molokini and entry onto the islet is prohibited. This being said, swimmers are capable of touching the island to start the swim and escort boats can accompany them in Subzone B. Anyone considering these swims should check with local authorities first. As of this writing, there are no local regulations in place to certify either of these swims…but the spirit of channel swimming continues.”
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