Mokulua Islands

Mokulua Islands
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Two tiny islands off the east coast of Oahu, known as The Mokes.

• General: Educational • General: Kayaking

The Mokulua Islands are two tiny islands, or more technically correct they are two islets (but an islet is just a tiny island). The proper name is Na Mokulua which means "the two islands" in Hawaiian but they're most commonly called The Mokes (rhymes with smokes).

The two islets are called Moku Nui and Moku Iki and are located about 3/4 of a mile off the east coast of Oahu. You can see them from many points on the east side but most notably would be from Lanikai Beach or Bellows Field Beach Park as they make the perfect backdrop to those beaches.

When viewing from Oahu's east coast the islands on the left is Moku Nui and the one on the right is Moku Iki and both are part of the Hawaii State Seabird Sanctuary. That means there are restrictions on what you can do there and even where you can go on the islands. First up, know that Moku Iki (smaller islet on the right) is completely off limits so you can't go there at all.

You can, however, visit Moku Nui but you cannot bring any animals with you as many birds nest in the ground and they don't want Fido getting a tasty snack. If you do visit Moku Nui you can visit Moku Nui Beach on the southwest corner of the islet, but you cannot visit the interior of the island as that part is also off limits.

It's said that these islands were formed somewhere between 2.7 and 3.9 million years ago and it's a popular place for kayakers to come and visit today. You can rent a kayak and paddle out on your own or you can go with a tour company which is the smarter option if you're not an experienced kayaker. In fact, unless ocean conditions are very good, you're aware of any upcoming weather issues, and know what you're doing don't go unless you're with an experience guide. Some people do run into trouble when making what seems to be a short, simple trip!

If the ocean is calm, some people will make the trek out to The Mokes by way of stand up paddleboard, surfboard, or even just swim. A strong swimmer can make the journey in 30 minutes or so if things are calm but it can easily take twice that when it's less than calm so swimming isn't for most people and not something we would suggest.