According to Faye, Niihau was and is just a silent sentinel in the distance that gives them some sort of comfort from storms and the vast, wide-open ocean beyond. He recalled that as a kid, growing up, the sun’s rays would reflect off of the Niihau mountains, and it almost felt like he could touch them.
For people such as Faye, the mysterious island symbolizes a constant point on the horizon that the islanders can turn to. Every time the sun goes down, they can be sure to spot the island’s outline in the far distance. Faye added, “Niihau [gives] us that point on oceans field of view. It’s not far, and it’s always there. It keeps a lookout for us from that side of the world.”
Famous Last Words
Regardless of it being the island that not many will get to visit for fun, the burning desire will still be there for some. According to Bruce Robinson, the family gets a lot of requests from people who are at the end of their rope and who want to visit the island before they say their final goodbyes.
Despite the fact that the Robinson family has made it known that it's a "Forbidden Island," there are still many to come near the coasts in hopes of setting foot on the island. The Robinsons have even denied some celebrities like Mick Jagger, who wanted to land his helicopter on the island.
Neighbor's Point of View
If you feel like you're missing out, then fear not because everybody, as in the whole world, is. Even the people of the adjacent island, Kauai, are forbidden from setting foot on their neighbor's territory. For the Kauaians, Niihau is just a silhouette that forms distantly on the horizon as the sun goes down each day.
Nonetheless, the tiny territory of Niihua still remains of great importance to the native folk from the other Hawaiian Islands. For example, the local Kauai resident Mike Faye shared the importance that Niihau had to him and his fellow islanders in an interview with "Good Morning America."
Na Pali Coast
Na Pali Coast is one of Kauai's Northern coastal areas. The area is mountainous and spans over a 17-mile area, and due to its extraordinary beauty, it is known as a sacred place by the local people, such as Faye and his neighbors.
One can find emerald-toned cliffs with razor-sharp ridges that tower about the Pacific Ocean. For centuries, the rugged terrain here has been home to local settlements that have flourished by existing only on the fish they could catch and the crops they could grow. For the people of this region, they have always had a close view of their neighbors at Niihau.
Not too far from the Napali coast, if one travels inland, you will find the Hanalei National Wildlife Park. Like its neighboring "Forbidden Island," this region is also closed to the general public, but not for the same reasons as Niihau.
This captivatingly lush area is encircled by mountains that are draped with waterfalls, and the reason for it being closed to the masses is primarily to protect the endangered and threatened wildlife species that roam the area. This area is one of the oldest wildlife refuges in the region, and today, the locals still practice traditional 'kalo' or taro farming.