Coconut Island

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For other uses, see Coconut Island (disambiguation).
Coconut Isle in Kaneohe Bay

Coconut Island, or Moku o Loʻe, is a 28-acre (113,000 m²) island in Kāne'ohe Bay off the island of Oahu in the state of Hawaii, USA. It is a marine research facility of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) of the University of Hawaii.[1]

In 1934–1936, Chris Holmes II, an heir to the Fleischmann yeast fortune, doubled the original 12-acre (49,000 m2) island with coral rubble, sand, and earthen landfill. He established a residence with aquaria, kennels, and aviaries for his many pets. The island was converted to a rest and relaxation station for United States Navy flyers during World War II.

In 1946 a group of five Los Angeles businessmen, including Edwin W. Pauley, bought the island from the estate of Chris Holmes II with the idea of converting it to the exclusive Coconut Island Club International, 1946-7, and hired architects Paul Williams, Quincy Jones, and C.W. Lemmon of Belt Lemmon and Lo, Architects of Honolulu to design a community of cottages, tennis courts, a yacht club and other recreational facilities including remodeling the Holmes mansion and barracks. The Pauley group wanted to develop the island into a private, membership only resort.[2] In 1949 this idea was dropped and a scaled-back Coconut Island Hotel with accommodation for 32 guests opened in February 1950.

In 1948, Pauley donated a portion of the island to the University of Hawaii to be used as a marine research facility [3] From the 1950s to the 1980s, the Pauley family used the island for summer get-aways and hosted many notable guests. From the mid-80s to mid-90s Japanese real estate investor Katsuhiro Kawaguchi owned half the island, while the University owned the other half. In 1995, the Edwin Pauley Foundation granted a gift of $9.6 million to the University of Hawaii Foundation to purchase the private half of the island and build new laboratories on it.

The island is now completely owned by the state and is the facility for the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, part of the University of Hawaii. It is the only laboratory built on a coral reef, except for Heron Island, Lizard Island and a number of labs in the South Pacific, outside of America.

Coconut Island was used for the opening sequence of the television program Gilligan's Island.[4]

See also[edit]

  • Whitlow Au, researcher who works on Coconut Island


  1. ^ Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, retrieved 2008-06-20 
  2. ^ Pacific Island Turned into South Sea Paradise", Los Angeles Times, February 17, 1947, p. 9
  3. ^ Kieger, Moku O Lo'e A History of the Coconut Island, p.215
  4. ^ "Kayaking and Snorkeling: He'eia State Park". He'eia Learning Center. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 21°26′01″N 157°47′18″W / 21.43361°N 157.78833°W / 21.43361; -157.78833