While many people call this small island “Chinaman’s Hat” for its shape, the island’s true name is Mokoli’i, Hawaiian for “little lizard”. Location near Kualoa Ranch
and Tropical Farms
, Chinaman's Hat
is also said to resemble a shark’s fin.
Once connected to Oahu, Mokoli’i became an offshore island after erosion separated it from Oahu. Accessible by kayak, the island has shore depths of only four feet on the west side (facing inland).
Hawaiian legends says that Hi'iaka, sister of the Goddess of Fire Pele, created Mokoli'i by hunting a dangerous dragon and placing his enormous fins in the ocean as a landmark. She used the dragon’s body in the lowlands below the mountains to provide room for the pathway that runs around that edge of Oahu, which is now a paved roadway.