The famous Kane'ohe Sandbar, aka Ahu o Laka, aka the Sunken Island or Disappearing Beach is by any name an absolute must-see destination of windward Oahu! Just over one mile directly offshore from our location at He'eia State Park, it is very accessible by kayak, but the difficulty level of paddling out to the sandbar varies from day to day based on wind and current. On most days it is a very reasonable destination for most people, although on windier days that distance may not be suitable for all experience and ability levels.
By far the most frequently asked question we get is "how long will it take us to paddle to the sandbar?" And the answer is we can never answer that question. We can tell you the distance, and we will give you a very clear briefing on the conditions before you launch. But every day is different in terms of wind, current, and weather conditions that will affect how long it will take, and everybody is different in terms of experience and ability level. It's best to time yourself going out so you can know how long it is taking, and always make sure to stay within your ability and comfort level to be able to make it back to where you launched from in the right amount of time.
Half a mile wide and over one mile across, the sandbar is barely submerged most of the time, with the shallowest areas roughly knee-waist deep, and still a perfect place to anchor in the sand and bask in the bay with the panoramic view of Oahu's Ko'olau Mountains in the background. At certain low tides it becomes a completely dry beach over a mile out in the ocean! We can help you determine the wind and tide forecast and pick the best time to get out there and experience the world-famous sandbar for yourself!
The Hawaiian name "Ahu o Laka" translates as "Altar of Laka", Laka being a voyager of Hawaiian mythology who was said to have come from Maui but eventually sailed to Oahu and settled in the modern day ahupua'a (land division) known as Waikane, which is just north of Kane'ohe, and still on the coastline of Kane'ohe Bay, facing the sandbar. Did you know: the Hawaiian name of Kane'ohe Bay is actually "Ka waha o ka mano", which translates as "the mouth of the shark"! The trade winds of Kane'ohe are called "mololani", and the rains of Kane'ohe are called "apuakea."