The calm waters of Pokai Bay make its namesake beach a pupular spot for both two-legged and four-legged swimmers. This wide, sandy beach on the western shore of Oahu is also of interest to canine enthusiasts for other, more surprising reasons. On a peninsula just south of the rock wall that protects the bay and keeps the waters calm, you'll find the Ku'ilioloa Heiau, a sacred Hawaiian temple dedicated to a benevolent canine spirit.
In the Hawaiian language, "Ku'ilioloa" means "the long dog Ku." According to legend, Ku was a dog kupua, or sacred being, who protected travelers. One legend says, "Ku, the dog-man, decided to come down from the clouds and visit mankind, so he assumed the form of a little dog and went around almost unnoticed." Visiting this site might make you tilt your head and look at your dog a little differently!
Perhaps thanks to the brave and mischievous spirit of Ku, Pokai Bay Beach Park has a happy energy. It's a popular beach bustling with activity, but with a different feeling than commercial tourist beaches. Boats bob gently in the bay, children swim and laugh, snorkelers kick along the surface of the water, and fishers calmly cast lines. In the distance, dolphins leap.
Soft sand and calm waters are only a few of the things that make Pokai Bay Beach Park a great place for families. The park has many amenities, including bathrooms, showers, grassy lawns with picnic tables and places to set up for get-togethers, and trees that provide shade. Remember to bring your own waste bags, water, and other supplies. You'll need to keep your dog leashed, even in the water. And note that at Pokai Bay Beach, dogs are not allowed on the sand above the high tide line, which is the ocean side of the sea debris.
Be careful in the water and review any local notices—sharks are sometimes spotted near the bay, and due to the lack of circulation caused by the breakwater wall, the waters of Pokai Bay sometimes host high levels of bacteria. It's always important to make sure your dog isn't quenching their thirst with ocean water, and even more so here.
You're sure to have a great time romping with your companion in these gentle waters!