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I had an opportunity recently to visit the Moku’auia, and islet bird sanctuary just off the coast near Laie. Commonly referred to as Goat Island on Oahu this pristine islet offers a unique escape from the “Honolulu” lifestyle and Waikiki crowds.
You will find lots of YT videos talking about Goat Island and the natural beauty of the place, I have attempted to capture the rough landscape and tidepools that thrive with ocean life, enjoy the video.
If you are hungry for unique things to do on Oahu then this may be the perfect meal for you.
Location Of Goat Island (Moku’auia)
Moku’auia is located just off the shoreline of Malaekahana State Recreation Area, park in the earliest available stall as the islet will be to your left when facing the ocean.
How To Get To Goat Island (Moku’auia)
Once you are at the park you can head out to the ocean and walk towards your left or if you entered from the very far left of the park it will be almost directly in front of you. You will see the islet just off the shoreline and hopefully, some exposed reef leading partially across the way.
I recommend you go during low tide and pay attention to how fast the tide will rise along with how long you can stay on the islet before you need to head back. Leaving before the low tide mark is even better to give you more time on Moku’auia.
Here is the tide chart website I used and the current conditions during my visit. I crossed on June 4th at approximately 7:15 am, my return time was approx. 9 am. In the video above you can see the water levels in relation to how high they came up on me during the crossing, I am 6’2″ for reference.
What To Expect On Goat Island (Moku’auia)
The landscape for such a small islet is quite diverse on Moku’auia so take your time and enjoy.
A fairly rocky landscape filled with coral and lava features from end to end that have endless little nooks and crannies to explore. The tidepools around the edge are home to all kinds of sea life, take your time and watch, you will be surprised as to what comes out to play.
There are also over 16 varieties of plants recorded with some being endangered and others being endemic to Hawaii, keep an eye out for them.
Unique Features Of Goat Island (Moku’auia)
Two things stand out the most for me when visiting this islet.
One is the quiet, calm, beach bay that is almost never busy. I have been out before when there were families and kids there and even then it felt like you were in a world of your own. Very calm with a nice sandy bottom. If the low tide double dips during the day or you are comfortable making the crossing at high tide you could spend the day.
The other unique feature of Moku’auia is the bird sanctuary that encompasses the entire center of the islet. I don’t have a zoom lens on my phone but I can assure you there are dozens of nesting spots. I saw several wedge-tailed Shearwaters during my visit and it was quite an experience.
Recommended Gear For Goat Island (Moku’auia)
Because Moku’auia is completely exposed with no shade trees or coverings you should consider a wide-brimmed hat and reef safe sunscreen for just about anyone visiting.
I wear a long sleeve, quick-drying shirt for most of my outdoor adventures, so much easier than lathering up the arms and less expensive in the long run.
I mentioned my hiking shoes that drain water very easily and have stiffer rubber soles than reef walkers, you can find them here – https://amzn.to/3CeR6qW The island itself is quite rocky and the lava rocks are incredibly sharp, especially if you explore a bit. If you are only going to stay at the bay then a good pair of reef walkers should suffice.
I see many head over in just slippers so it can be done, just not recommended.
As you enjoy the pristine beauty of Moku’auia remember that it is up to us to not only take care of this place but to encourage others to do the same. Leave this islet in better shape than when you came upon it and we can make sure it is around for generations to come.
Have you been here? How was your crossing and experience?