Coconut Island

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The island you see in the distance at the beginning theme of the second and third season is an actual island called "Coconut Island" or Mokuoloe. It is located in Oahu's Kaneohe Bay and is the home of the Institute of Marine Biology.The two tall pine trees in the middle of the island are still standing after all these years!

I live about 10 minutes from the beach across from Coconut Island. It's a privately owned island and the University of Hawaii Oceanography and Marine Biology and Research people use it. I've only been on it once, in the mid 1970's. On 2 sides of Kaneohe bay is a coastal highway and rural residential area, and on a third side is a large Marine Base, "Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii." It's actually a Marine Air Station, with Marine Corps Fighter Pilots - among them the famous "Death Angels" are stationed there. It also has a large contingent of Marine Infantry.

On the 4th side of Coconut Island is open sea. It is located in a bay, after all. By the way, the island of Oahu means "The gathering place." Oahu is not the biggest Island in the Hawaiian chain, but it was the Island with the largest population of the old Hawaiians." What does "Kaneohe" means in Hawaiian? "Kane" (pronounced Conee) like the girls name, (Connie), means "Man" or "Male", and "Ohe" means Bamboo. It seems there was a legend in old Hawaii of a "Bamboo Man" living in the heavy populated bamboo area.

Now, right there in Kaneohe bay is a fishing pier called "Heeia Kea Pier." (Heeia being the name of the area within Kaneohe, or on the edge of Kaneohe) Heeia Kea is pronounced "Hay ee ah" and "Key ah." They have glass bottom boat rides open to the public that operate from there where folks can see the marine life, coral and so forth and so on. This boat will take you very close to Coconut Island, and just maybe, with a polite request (beg?) the skipper of the boat may take you closer so you can take even better pictures, but I don't know if this will work or not. Either way, you get close enough to Coconut Island for good pictures, and the pier is less than a kilometer from Coconut Island to begin with.

Written by Skinny Mulligan

Coconut Island Story

I saw the island from the shore during a visit a few years ago and could recognize some landmarks I remember from 1937-39 when I was 5-7.

My father for many years was Chief Steward of the SS. Matsonia that sailed between the mainland and Honolulu. He met many important and wealthy people and some of them became social contacts during the two years we lived in Honolulu. One was Fred? Dusenberg of the automobile family that built that car. He lived at the foot of Diamond Head on a lovely estate with a private beach and I would go with his house boy to the beach while my folks would visit with the Dusenbergs. Shirley Temple and her mother use to stay there during their visits to Oahu. One of my fathers friends was Chis Holmes who owned Coconut Island. One day we went to Kaneohe? and Mr. Holmes came to the pier and picked us up in his motor boat. He allowed me to steer towards the island until I tried to see how close I could come to a buoy and miss it and he quickly took the wheel back. The island had a tri level home and the long sunken hallway from the entrance was all walled with glass fish tanks. HIs living room had a killer view down the coast and the ocean. Next door he had a 3 lane bowling alley, a movie theater, and a large trophy? room. He had a large old sailing ship beached on his sandy beach that was used as guest bedrooms, and a banquet room, etc. Between the house and the beach were long cement channels blocked off ever so far with heavy link fences to keep separate different types of marine life including large sharks. He had what looked like a tug boat that he used for fishing parties tied up at his pier. A friend and lively older man and well liked to my knowledge.

In 1943, for reasons I do not know, but maybe financial, he committed suicide in Manhattan. The next year when I was 12 , I started caddying at the Burlingame, CA, Country Club and one of my golfers one day was Chris Holmes , Jr. He was surprised to hear my story and so was my father when I told him the next time he came into port from the South Pacific aboard his ship which had been a troop transport since Nov. 1941. In 1949 my father got a shore job after 30 years at sea and eventually became Director of Passenger Service for Matson before his retirement in 1961.

Charles Christian, Jr. Santa Rosa, CA