Hawaii October 16, 2016
The One Dreamy Day Trip Everyone In Hawaii Needs To Take As Soon As Possible
Located less than a mile offshore on the Windward coast of Oahu lie two tiny little islets. The Mokulua Islands, affectionately referred to as simply “the mokes,” are one of the Oahu’s most popular day trip destinations, and rightfully so. These dreamy little islands – and the turquoise water you must paddle through to reach them – are absolutely incredible, and easy to reach regardless of skill.
The larger of the two islands - on the left when photographed from Lanikai - is Moku Nui, and the smaller is Moku Iki.
Both islands are protected by as part of the Hawaii State Seabird Sanctuary. Moku Iki is strictly off-limits to visitors, as well as the interior of Moku Nui.
The small islands were formed between 2.7 and 3.9 million years ago, and are composed of many basaltic intrusive igneous dikes, part of the larger Ko’olau shield volcano.
You can reach the islands via kayak, outrigger canoe, boat, or stand-up paddleboard, but I personally recommend renting kayaks to reach the small island.
The trek should take approximately 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your strength and skill level.
The beach on Moku Nui faces Lanikai and Kailua Beaches - and the back of the island is home to a popular cliff jumping spot.
The island is even home to some quite picturesque tide pools as well.
There are several nearby kayak rental shops that will provide you with a cart to transport your kayaks to the beach - or you can rent elsewhere and strap them to your car for a better deal. Rentals typically are done on a half or full day basis, and we suggest opting for the full day if you’re new to kayaking or want to take your time exploring Moku Nui - or the nearby plane wreck.
Yes, you read that right. Near the Mokulua Islands is a plane wreck hiding in less than 20 feet of water amongst the coral. The P-47 Thunderbolt is broken into three parts, and subsequently difficult to find, but if you’re able to locate the wreck, you’re in for a treat.
The story goes that an unknown airman was taking off from the bomber runway at Bellows Air Force Station in 1947, had unexpected engine trouble, and came to a screeching halt just 800 yards from the end of the runway. The military declared the plane a write-off, took its equipment and left the empty shell to weather the elements. It is said that the plane was visible until the 1970s, when a massive storm moved it to its current position.
If you aren’t quite ready to take this leap, you can live vicariously through
Nathan Rubio, who brought his camera along on his journey to the Mokes and shared the footage on YouTube.
For more information about the P-47 wreck near these beautiful islands, check out the
Hui Wa’a Kaukahi kayaking club website. If you’re looking for other kayaking destinations across the Hawaiian Islands, check out these 11 popular excursions – and for another epic adventure off Oahu’s windward coast, you absolutely must plan a trip to the Kaneohe Sandbar.