Current conditions at Chinaman’s Hat
Beach & Nearshore
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Chinaman’s Hat is also known as
Chinaman’s hat is not lifeguarded.
Mokoliʻi Island, one of Windward Oʻahu’s most famous landmarks, lies off the park. Its creation is explained in a legend about Hiʻiaka, a sister of Pele, the goddess of the volcano. After Pele traveled across the Hawaiian Islands and finally made her home on the Big Island, she still wandered in her dreams as a spirit. During one of these travels, she found a handsome prince on KauaʻI, Lohiʻau, and wanted to meet him personally. She asked each of her sisters to go to KauaʻI and bring him back, but they all refused, forseeing the dangers of the trip. Finally the youngest of the girls, Hiʻiaka, agreed.
On Oʻahu as Hiʻiaka followed the trail on the shore of Kaneʻohe Bay, she was confronted by a moʻo, a large dragon-like creature. Using her supernatural power, Hiʻiaka killed the moʻo, cut off his tail, and threw it into the ocean, where it became an island called MokoliʻI, or little dragon. Moko is an older form of moʻo, or dragon, and liʻI means little. The island is popularly known as Chinaman’s Hat for its shape, which resembles an old-style Chinese laborer’s hat.
MokoliʻI Island, 500 yards offshore, is park property and the only offshore island around Oʻahu, besides Coconut Island in Kaneʻohe Bay, that is not part of the HawaiʻI State Seabird Sanctuary.