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A Visit to Manele Small Boat Harbor

Joelle Aoki in the office
Joelle Aoki
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Mitch

Meet Joelle M.L.A. Aoki, the friendly new harbormaster at the Manele Small Boat Harbor on Lanai, Hawaii. We went to investigate what changes Larry Ellison has made to the island since he purchased a 97% stake of it in 2012. On the waterfront we met Joelle, who was hard at work cleaning up the neglect and transforming the slice of paradise into a functioning and well-managed marina.

Manele Harbor sign
The Manele Harbor (land) entrance.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Mitch

The 24-slip harbor has gone unmanaged for four years. Its future was in question until July 7, when Hawaii House Bill 1032 was vetoed by Governor Ige, putting a stay on privatizing the harbor. That could have put the marina management into the hands of Larry Ellison through the Pulama Lanai company. So it remains a state facility and Joelle is keeping a great sense of humor as she serves eviction notices to the rodents, wasps and lizards that had taken over her office.

The docks and facilities are adjacent to the Maui ferry terminal and are in great condition. The tour boats that serve the Four Seasons resort also dock here. They stay busy wowing visitors with trips to Puu Pehe/Sweetheart Rock and the leeward Lanai shore. It’s a beautiful harbor with a fascinating history. If you’re planning a visit to Lanai by boat please check with Joelle at [email protected].

sewing in the shade
Manhoff Miztree, hailing from New Zealand, makes needed dodger repairs in the shade and tranquility of the Manele Bay Harbor park.
© 2019 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Mitch


  1. Linda Newland 5 years ago

    Spent a week there in 1978. Island then was under complete control of the pineapple company that owned it. One older smaller hotel in the main town we hitchhiked to for renting a rusted out WWII Jeep to tour the island for $30 a day. Manele Bay was undisturbed by any development and was the most beautiful pristine beach and snorkeling grounds we had ever laid eyes on. Manta rays came into the harbor every evening to feed and we would sit on our boat and watch. Only one daily boat coming in with tourists just for lunch on the beach and leave. They would give the boaters the left over BBQ and cake. Better times.

  2. Mitch 5 years ago

    Thanks for that report Linda; it must have been exceptional in 1978. It’s still a beautiful bay with relatively few boats, but it speaks to the point that if you want to see the world before it spins further towards over-populated and over-developed, go cruising now. We found Lanai to be uncrowded and wide open. We cruised thousands of un-fenced acres on ATV’s and snorkeled in pristine water. Good times.

  3. Kaili Lu'uvai 2 years ago

    So sad what they did to the Lanai Rendezvous fishing tournament. 50 years of tradition and then after COVID they cannot use the harbor on Lanai anymore. The rich have officially taken over the island. Very sad!

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