Kayaking to the Mokulua Islands

Kayaking to the Mokolua Islands is one of the things that I’d wanted to do since moving to Hawaii. I told myself I was going to wait for my oldest daughter to come visit after graduation and then we’d do it. Well, that opportunity came this past weekend and it was awesome. It was actually a lot more rewarding than I could ever have imagined.

mokulua Islands kayaking

We rented our kayaks at Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks.  You can find their page here on Yelp.  We rented, watched a short video and the staff was great and answered all our questions.  This was the first time any of us had kayaked before.  It was only a short walk to the launching the point and the kayaks are on wheeled pull carts that are easy to drag.

Kayaks on the way to the Mokulua Islands.
Kayaks on the way to the Mokulua Islands.

The Mokulua Islands, or “the Mokes” are about a mile away and that equates to about a 45 minute to an hour and half kayak paddle, depending on your pace.  (You can visit nearer Flat Island or just kayak around the bay if you didn’t want to go all the to the Mokes.

Moku Nui  (meaning Moku North) is the Island that you’re going to visit and you need a special $3 pass per kayak to land there.  The other island, Moku Iki,(yes, Moku South) is currently off-limits to landing.


Kayaking isn’t easiest of work. Especially to new kayakers and if you’re in a double then getting in rhythm is a little harder than it looks.  My advice-the person up-front sets the pace and the person in back yells at them that they’re going to slow or fast.


We saw a lot of sea turtles on the way to the Mokes.  They came for air and we all oooh’ed and aaah’ed.  I’m obsessed with Hawaiian sea turtles and they always manage to show up when I’m around and the kayak ride to the Mokulua Islands didn’t challenge that record.  I’ve started calling myself the “turtle whisperer” and in Hawaiian that’s “Honu Hawanawana”.


Once out on the Moku Nui there will be other kayakers and you can walk around the island for a little bit and take some really cool photos of rock cliffs, the Kailua coast, the Lanikai Pillboxes, the other Moke and watch people until your heart’s content.