Kayak To The Mokes: Explore the Pristine Islands of Oahu

Imagine gliding across crystal clear waters towards the mesmerizing Na Mokulua Islands, also known as the Mokes. This exhilarating kayak adventure is one of the top activities on Oahu, offering an incredible day-trip for all ages. In this article, we will delve into everything you need to know about kayaking to the Mokes, from choosing the best tour to exploring the islands and more.

Where the Mokes Await

Located on the enchanting east coast of Oahu, the Mokulua Islands are a captivating sight. To get there, make your way to the stunning beaches of Lanikai or Kailua. For the best viewpoint, embark on the Lanikai Pillbox Hike, which offers a breathtaking panorama of the Mokes. A short drive from Lanikai will take you to the starting point of your exhilarating kayak journey.


Paddling to Paradise

The duration of your kayak adventure to the Mokes depends on weather conditions. It is advisable to choose a calm day for the trip. On such days, you can paddle to the Mokes in approximately 45 minutes. However, if the winds pick up and the swell becomes rough, the journey may take up to 1.5 hours. Rest assured, you don’t need to be an expert paddler to enjoy this experience. These timings cater to average tourists who have kayaked a few times and are in decent shape.


A Journey of Distance

The distance from Kailua to the Mokes totals 2.4 miles (3.8km), making it a round trip of 4.8 miles (7.6km). Launching from Lanikai can significantly reduce the journey distance; however, all kayak rental shops are located in Kailua.

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Kailua Kayaks

Seizing the Perfect Moment

The morning is the ideal time to embark on your kayak adventure to the Mokes. Calm waters await, and the scorching heat of the day has yet to dominate. Arriving at Moko Nui, one of the Mokes, before the sun reaches its zenith is highly recommended. If you set off early, you can even return in time for a delicious lunch at one of the charming cafes or restaurants in Kailua.

Kayaking To The Mokes From Kailua: Mokulua Islands

Our Unforgettable Journey

As we stood on the shore of Kailua beach, the shimmering sunlight danced on the pristine waters before us. We eagerly gathered on the sand, our sights fixed on Na Mokulua, also known as the “mokes.” Today, we were setting out on an outrigger canoe, ready to explore these two captivating islands.

Under the guidance of our knowledgeable captain, we embarked on a leisurely paddle, soaking in the breathtaking view of the Koolau mountain range, which stretched across the horizon. The crystal clarity of the water allowed us to witness the rich marine life beneath us, including the graceful Hawaiian Sea Turtles and vibrant coral formations.

Reaching Moku Nui, the island on the left, was a breeze. Our captain shared fascinating Hawaiian stories about the land formations and the significance of different landmarks. We discovered that Moku Nui, situated just 0.75 miles off Lanikai, is a 225-foot volcanic cone, serving as a sanctuary for shearwaters.

Nā Mokulua (The Two Islands)

Exploring the Island Paradise

Moku Nui can get crowded at times, especially on weekends and holidays. Fortunately, we chose a weekday to visit, allowing us to enjoy the island’s tranquility. We ventured around, discovering the Queen’s Bath, a captivating tide pool perfect for a refreshing dip. Along the way, we encountered shearwaters nesting amidst the rocky landscape, seemingly unfazed by our presence.

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A dramatic cliff face and small tide pools overlooked the vast ocean, creating a truly magical setting. We couldn’t resist the allure of the tide pools and took the opportunity to leap into the crystal-clear waters. One jump, a thrilling four-meter drop, provided endless fun and safety. For the more adventurous, an epic leap from the cliffside was an option, showcasing the sheer beauty of this hidden paradise.

As we strolled back to where we had left our canoes, we witnessed a mesmerizing storm brewing over Kailua. Dark clouds loomed, creating a striking contrast against the warm sunshine that bathed the island. These surreal conditions set the stage for unforgettable photographs.

Returning with Memories

After a playful interlude on the island, donning a T-Rex costume, we set off on our journey back to Kailua. The trip lasted approximately four hours, although our guide kindly offered the option to extend our stay on Moku Nui. Throughout the adventure, our guide’s focus was solely on ensuring our satisfaction and creating memorable experiences.

Kayaking to the Mokes is an ideal day trip for families and friends alike. You can choose to infuse your adventure with adrenaline by tackling tide pools and riding the waves on outrigger canoes, or you can opt for a tranquil and leisurely paddle while exploring the island’s natural wonders. Regardless of your style, the captivating scenery guarantees an unforgettable experience in the beautiful Hawaiian paradise.

What are you waiting for? Embark on a journey to the Mokes and create memories that will last a lifetime.

To learn more about planning your trip to Oahu, including where to stay and the best attractions and hikes, check out UpStreamPaddle for comprehensive guides and resources.

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Kayaking To The Mokes From Kailua: Mokulua Islands