FAQ – Chinaman’s Hat Kayak & Hike

What type of person would enjoy kayaking and hiking Chinaman’s Hat?If you are more of an ocean adventurer, Chinaman’s Hat could be the way to go! It is a fun paddle out to an island that offers incredible and unique views of the famous Kualoa mountain. Along the way, it is common to run into turtles, rays, fish, and the occasional Monk Seal which could make this experience really exciting.

Why should I kayak to Chinaman’s Hat? — Amazing views. Adventure. To feel alive. It’s accessible. It’s something active to do, but not too active that it’s extreme. But for me, it’s the views. You go up a trail on the side of Mokoli’i and get a panoramic view of the whole windward coast, and the green Ko’olau mountains all from a small island in the ocean. It’s so cool! You don’t even have to hike all the way to the top to get that view, although it’s admittedly better from the top if you can brave the bit of rock climbing to get there.

Where do you meet us for the kayak trip to Mokolii? — We meet you at our shop in Kailua where we provide you with pads and straps to drive into Kualoa Regional Park. Park rules prohibit kayak deliveries inside or near Kualoa Regional Park. All details and addresses are in our confirmation email or will be provided on the day of your kayaking experience.

Is the water really deep? — It gets to about 12 ft at the deepest parts where you’ll be kayaking. The whole area around the islet is an old sunken volcano caldera, so it’s nice and relatively shallow all the way from the shore to Mokoli’i There is also a coral barrier reef to protect it from large waves.

Is this location safe for kayaking? — Under normal conditions, yes. It’s set in a very sheltered area at the far north end of Kaneohe Bay, so it benefits from the shallow water and shelter of the barrier reef. That said, this kayaking experience is in the ocean and conditions can change rapidly. If conditions are stormy or extra windy, we suggest relocating to the Kahana River location about 10 minutes away which is much more sheltered and perfect if you are looking for jungle scenery.

Do you need to have any previous experience in kayaking? — No, Beginners are welcome, but tandem kayaking requires a willingness to listen to instruction and teamwork in paddling. It’s an adventure!

What is your best advice for first-time kayakers? Have patience and remember you are supposed to be having fun! Kayaking is an easy and relaxing sport that offers you a way to see things from a different perspective. Sometimes you will tip over and sometimes you will paddle the wrong way, but that is okay! Just remembering the basics of kayaking that your guide shows you are all you need. Paddling is easier once you get into deeper water (6-10ft). The water is calmer, more predictable, and easier to steer.

Does Ocean kayaking require a lot of upper body strength?Not at all. We have kids take these experiences accompanied by an adult all the time. While it requires repetitive motions that can be tiring, it does not require you to have big muscles. Each one-way trip from the shore to Chinaman’s hat is only 25-10 minutes depending on your paddling rhythm and conditions. Enjoy the journey and take a break if you need to.

Is the hike really steep or slippery? — There are two options for the hike, both of which we highly suggest you wear athletic shoes for.

One goes straight up the side of the islet. It starts with a gradual incline then has some rocks you will need to use both your hands and feet to climb and then there are parts that are indeed “steep and slippery”. There is also a section of bouldering to get to the top of the islet where there is a great view. If you have a fear of heights or doubt your strength, We don’t suggest this route.

The other option is to take a path around the circumference of the islet to a nice little secluded beach on the backside. This trail has lots of small rocks, but it’s relatively flat. There are parts where you’d climb up or down half a meter on the rocks, so nothing crazy.

Will I see wildlife?We cannot guarantee you will see wildlife but you will see some if you are looking! Birds, fish, and turtles are really common in all of our kayaking spots. Consider renting some snorkels to have with you on your adventure.

Do you offer refunds? — Yes. If you need to cancel, change, or reschedule your reservation, call us at (808)724-1218 or email [email protected] as soon as you know. Check out our cancellation policy for more info: Cancellation Policy

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