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Na Mokulua, Oahu: Stand-Up Paddling & Other Fun Island Activities

Na Mokulua, Oahu: Stand-Up Paddling & Other Fun Island Activities

Off the beautiful white sand beach of Lanikai Beach in Kailua, there are twin islands floating on the crystal clear blue ocean. You can simply relax on Lanikai Beach, but if you are one of those adventure seekers, take your adventure to one of the two islands with a stand-up paddling board or a kayak. The journey to Na Mokulua Islands is one of the top experiences you must have in Oahu, and it’s even on the list for the locals.

Na Mokulua Islands as birds’ sanctuary

Na Mokulua Islands are symbolic islands in Kailua, which can be seen offshore from Lanikai Beach and Kailua Beach. If you happen to hike up the Pillbox hike, you can see those two islands in the distance side by side in the beautiful blue ocean. Both of the islands are a sanctuary for birds, together protected by the state of Hawaii. However, the one in the North called Mokulua Nui or Moku Nui, is accessible to the public during the day. Unfortunately, the island in the South, a smaller island called Mokulua Iki or Moku Iki, is not accessible so please do not attempt to land on the island.

From both Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach, you’ll often see a group of people on stand-up paddling boards, and on kayaks, heading to Mokulua Nui. If you know any locals with a stand-up paddling board or kayak, you can ask them to take you to the island, or you can rent out a board or a kayak and venture off to the island yourself.

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A stand-up paddle trip to the island

Stand-up paddling is a popular marine activity in Oahu. It is a lot easier than surfing as long as you can balance standing on a board. Although, if you are more comfortable sitting or kneeling on a paddling board, you can always switch your position and paddle.

The journey to Mokulua Nui takes roughly 45 minutes from Lanikai Beach. You will be paddling a distance of 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) one way. Depending on your physical level and experience of paddling as well as the direction of waves and size of surf, it could take less or more, but giving 45 minutes is a good estimate. I, myself, tried stand-up paddling for the second time when I ventured to the island, and it was nothing but a fun and exciting journey to the island; with the help of locals who knew how the wind and waves work. It is definitely an experience anybody can enjoy as long as they are fit enough to paddle through the entire trip. Make sure to listen to what the locals have to say so that you can avoid those days that have strong winds and big surfs, which can make the journey a lot more challenging and demanding.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Kailua (Oahu) and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Kailua (Oahu)

Incredible experience on Mokulua Nui

Source: @tayacoco

The journey to the island is both exciting and rewarding, but the experience on the island is equally incredible. As stated earlier, Mokulua Nui is a birds’ sanctuary, so when you enter the island you see signs and ropes indicating where people are allowed to enter. We are the guests here so make sure you follow the rules and stay away from the restricted areas.

Once you get to the island, you can just relax with some food and drinks on the white sand beach, or venture around the island. If you are lucky, you might be able to tan on the beach with a seal. You never know what you might find on this island, but if you run into a seal, make sure you keep a good distance away from the wild life.

It is pretty rocky once you leave the white sand beach, so bring flip flops or something to protect your feet. On a calm ocean day, you can do clip diving from the rocks behind the white sand beach, but on a rough ocean day, it is very dangerous so be sure to watch the waves.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Kailua (Oahu) and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Kailua (Oahu)

Catch the wave and dive in the crystal-clear water

Some people take a whole journey to the island in 2 hours, roughly a 45 minute paddle one way and a little bit of beach time on the island, but it is so easy to spend hours and hours on the island enjoying what the beautiful nature has to offer. The waves around the island make it easy enough for even beginners to catch waves on stand-up paddling, and the water surrounding the island is crystal-clear making it hard to resist jumping in. You just want to dive in to be underwater for as long as you can be. Though, there are areas where waves crash coming from the north and south meeting at one spot, so make sure watch the size of waves and how the current works to avoid being thrown off from a paddle or a kayak. It is not so rare to see locals helping tourists approaching the island or departing from the island who have been flipped off of a kayak and thrown back into the ocean.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Kailua (Oahu) and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Kailua (Oahu)

Check the must do bucket list for Oahu

Lanikai Beach is one of the must visit beaches in Oahu. It’s a white sand beach with small waves always making it easy for anybody to enjoy a beautiful time at the beach. You could simply stay at the white sand beach, but many people are always curious about venturing out to the island on stand-up paddling boards and kayaks. The truth is, it is not so hard to venture to Mokulua Nui even for beginner stand-up paddlers, as long as the individuals are fit enough to paddle roughly 45 minutes one way. You see children as well as adults venturing to the island, so anybody can do it. If you have children, you can use kayaks holding one adult and one child to out to the ocean. If you are still learning stand-up paddling, you can always stay on your knees or bottom to make it easy as well. It is definitely a one of a kind experience that’s hard not to enjoy if you are into outdoor adventures.

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Sayaha Aida has been traveling internationally since the early age of 15. She has lived internationally in Japan, England, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the United States (Miami and San Francisco)...Read more

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