National Geographic : 1960 Jul
ther. "Nothing," he said, "is going to re place the human eye in deciding when a fruit is ripe, or the human hand in reaching into those prickly leaves to break it off." Fruit from Lanai moves to Honolulu by barge through the tiny port of Kaumalapau. When I first came here, most plantations in the islands had their own shipping points, and lightering cargoes through heavy seas required master seamanship. Kaumalapau is one of the last of such ports, but even here longboats have given way to cranes. The airplane is the way to travel from island to island now. Even livestock and the kitchen stove move by air. To get the feel of this new commerce, I rode a Hawaiian Airlines' freighter one early morning on its rounds. On the floodlit apron of Honolulu airport I watched as lift trucks loaded fresh-baked bread onto the plane. There was a last minute scamper to put aboard Maui's morning papers. At dawn we were off. Alone in the cargo-crowded cabin as we flew down the chain, I could see Lanai and outriding Kahoolawe crouching in the early light. The latter, used by the military as a bombing range, supports only wildlife. Turbulence jostled us as we crossed the Maui coast and flew above the sugar-rich central plain toward our landing at Kahului. Through ages of volcanic building, this plain has become the most fertile in the 50th State. It holds the largest sugar plantation in the islands. The two fac Green seas explode as body surfers, spurning boards, belly-ride a comber. One swimmer, a split second too slow, risks be ing caught in the curl and carried under for a "trip to the bone yard."