On your way up towards Lahaina from anywhere else on the island , a stop at McGregor Point Lighthouse is a step off of the main road into the waters of history. It's entry is just past Ma'alaea Harbor and the Maui Ocean Center, past Mile Marker 8. There is no turn lane, if you blink you'll miss it, and the road that leads out to the point that it's on is rough and unpaved. There's a small dirt parking area. There's a zigzagging network of footpaths that cuts through the fragile vegetation right to the waters edge.
Where there's a south swell locals climb down to catch the low rolling waves, onshore waves make it a surf spot for experts. On smooth glassy days you'll find spear fishermen and divers dot the sparkling blue water.
In 1877 there were few navigational aids maintained by the Hawaiian Government as Wilder Steamship Company initiated passenger and freight service between the Hawaiian Islands with a fleet of steamers. They were forced to erect lighted beacons for the safety of its own vessels. One of these, placed at Ma'alaea Bay in the 1880s, was an ordinary lantern, fitted with red glass and displayed from a post.
In 1903 an acre and a third of land was acquired by presidential proclamation and in 1904, the US assumingresponsibility for navigational aids of the Territory of Hawai'i, replaced the lantern with a lens lantern suspended from a twelve-foot post.
Finally, in 1906 a light was established on the point to replace the older one at Ma'alaea Bay. This new light consisted of a lens lantern mounted atop a thirty-two-foot mast, with a small storage shed at its base. A one-story dwelling was later constructed just northwest of the light for the keeper.
Near the lighthouse is a plaque, affixed to a large boulder, that reads: "This monument commemorates the arrival of the Norwegian barque Beta which dropped anchor near this spot on February 18, 1881, and of her sister ship Musca, which arrived in Honolulu May 13, 1881. They brought more than six hundred Norwegians, Swedes and Danes to work in the sugar cane fields and mills of the Hawaiian Kingdom - the first and only mass migration of Scandinavians to these islands. For their contribution to the life of this land, as well as those of their countrymen who proceeded or followed, our mahalo and aloha."
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