July 12, 2013

Mokoli’i - Chinaman's Hat

Here's the secret: I'm not adventurous. Also, I'm a pretty bad swimmer. And my level of anxiety in the ocean is probably clinical. So swimming to an island 1/3 mile offshore, with our kids in a raft seemed like a really terrible idea.

Despite all that, we spent an afternoon swimming out to Mokoliʻi, locally known as the very politically correct Chinaman's Hat. Because it looks like a hat. It really could be any kind of hat, but since the Chinese were a large immigrant group here, it stuck. Based on its shape, to me it looks more like "Sorting Hat Island." 
It looks so far away!
Anyway, Kyle had done it twice before, once with our son in the boat. So I had to trust Kyle. And take lots of calming breaths.
Shaka time!
Wisely, Kyle brought along a jump rope to tie to himself so he could tow the boat. It also served as a communication device in case of emergency.We had a safety briefing so if anyone fell out of the boat, someone would pull three times on the rope. Glad that wasn't an issue!

Halfway there!
Photo courtesy of the children
Spotted a honu!
Using slippers to help swim better
Made it!
View of Oahu from Chinaman's Hat

The swimming leg of a sprint triathlon is shorter than that! So if I can do a triathlon with a snorkel and goggles, and stop halfway through for a snack break, then I'm all set!
This guy can climb!
And so can this girl!
Secret beach!
You can see the island of Moloka‘i on the horizon - just look in the big gap between the two little islands

The clouds looked ominous, but just stayed over the mountains
More climbing
This cave was sandy last time they visited

Looking at tide pools
Found a little hermit crab
And an even littler one!
Feather duster worm: before...


...and after.

Enjoying their free ride with a free sucker

Although I'm not really a risk-taker, I'm thankful for my adventurous husband who forces me out of my comfort zone so I can experience cool things like this!

You can do it too! To access Chinaman's Hat, you'll want to park at Kualoa Beach Park (not the ranch). Any place will do, but there is a rock wall protecting the beach in some areas, so unless you want to hop over it, launch from a different spot on the beach.

Although I'm not a strong swimmer, I can swim and have done so in open water before, so please do use caution. It is possible to walk most of the way to the island at low tide, since the water is about 4 feet deep. But, there have been drownings - be aware of the time for high tide and ask the lifeguards about the currents if you are unsure.

And if you want to try it, you can always borrow our raft!


  1. Nice job guys! And what a cute little hermit crab =)

  2. Thanks for reading! It was a nice reward for some hard, but(not as hard as I thought) work!

  3. Anonymous7/24/2013

    You are an amazing & adventurous mom! Great photos.

    1. Ha ha! Thanks :) I don't usually feel very fun or adventurous, so I'm bragging here!