Moku o Lo’e: Coconut Island
Moku o Loe, aka Coconut Island is located just over one mile to the southeast of our location in Kane’ohe Bay. Moku o Loe is the real “Gilligan’s Island”!
We are not permitted to land on this island. It is actually private property that is operated by the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB). The entire island, including the shallow fringing reef surrounding the island, is a protected marine reserve area and used by HIMB to conduct a wide variety of marine biology and ecology research.
Even though we are not permitted to land on Coconut Island, kayaking is the best way to explore and get a close up look. You can even kayak all the way around the island if you’re up for it. But that will be a long paddle. For snorkeling we recommend the larger patch reef areas in between our location and Coconut Island. Using Coconut Island as a landmark is the best way to find these magical underwater paradises when kayaking from He’eia State Park.
Coconut Island has quite a storied history. From being an extravagant billionaire’s own private island, to being owned and operated by the military, to its Hollywood fame as “Gilligan’s Island”, and now being a world renowned marine biology mecca, this unique island has changed hands and even changed shape and size dramatically over the years.
Its Hawaiian name, Moku o Loe, literally translates as “the Island of Loe”. Loe is a character in Hawaiian mythology whose parents banished her and her siblings. Her three brothers, who were all either farmers or fishermen, ended up scattered throughout the ahupua’a, while Loe took up residence on this small, secluded island. Today it is one of the only offshore islets of windward Oahu that is not a seabird sanctuary.
Coconut Island is not only unique in its natural and cultural history, but it remains a unique habitat and feature in Kane’ohe Bay that is definitely worth getting a close up look by kayak, even if we cannot land on it!