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Chinaman’s Hat


A great stop and picture opportunity along the way on the Hawaii Turtle Tour is to Chinaman’s Hat, also known as Mokoli’i in Hawaiian. Chinaman’s Hat is a basalt islet in Kaneohe Bay on Oahu. It is part of Kualoa Regional Park near the Kualoa Ranch and is located about a third of a mile offshore. It is possible to hike to the island and enjoy the day out there but only at low tide when the waves are only waist high. People have been known to either be stuck out on the island overnight or even drown is trying to get back at high tide. But the tour doesn’t take you into the ocean to Chinaman’s Hat, only for pictures in the park.

Mokoli’i is translated as little lizard. The lizards were called mo’o and were thought to be water spirits that changed from people after time since they died. Although there were no lizards on the islands when native Hawaiians first settled the area, it is suggested that ancestral memory and stories passed down tales of lizards. They believed that the remnants of a tail of a legendary gigantic lizard were what made Mokoli’i. They also believed that the back of the great mo’o was the Kualoa mountain range. Kualoa in Hawaiian means long, large back.

As the legend goes, Hi’iakaikapoliopele, one of the sisters of Pele (the goddess of fire), was the goddess who lives at Halema’uma’u. She left the island of Hawaii and decided to journey to Oahu. One day she was passing through the Kualoa area and this huge monstrous lizard chased her and tried to kill her. She vanquishing the beast and the signs of the battle remain its tail sticking out of the ocean.

Have a great time on your vacation here in the lovely Hawaiian Islands. If you have any questions about Hawaii Turtle Tours or about this blog, feel free to email to


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