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Kanaloa: The Hawaiian Ocean God


For most Hawaiian visitors, few activities can prove more enjoyable than a Na Pali Coast boat tour. From dolphin watching to catching a beautiful sunset over the ocean, these excursions allow visitors to see Hawaii in a way they would never experience from shore. As the team at Kauai Sea Tours in Eleele notes, however, these activities can be even more meaningful when you understand Hawaiian culture and mythology. For anyone going out on the ocean, this means learning about the Hawaiian god Kanaloa.

Who Is Kanaloa?

a close up of an umbrella on a sandy beach next to the ocean

Pacific sunrise at Lanikai beach, Hawaii

Kanaloa is one of the major gods in Hawaiian tradition. Though he doesn’t feature as prominently in Hawaiian mythology as other gods, he’s the god of the sea and long-distance sailing voyages. In other Polynesian cultures, he is also referred to as the god of the sea, though he has different names.

In Hawaiian legend, Kanaloa would travel with the god Kane, and together, the two of them would help establish sources of fresh water. As with other Hawaiian gods, Kanaloa could take on many physical forms, or kinolau. For example, dolphins, whales, bananas, and even the ocean are all viewed as Kanaloa’s kinolau.

Why Does Kanaloa Matter?

In Hawaiian tradition, the kinolau, which refers to the many bodily forms of a god, must be treated with respect. Historically, women were even forbidden to eat certain types of food because they were kinolau of Kanaloa. This basic principle of respect is equally important when going on sea tours in Hawaii today. Respect for the culture of the past and the sea itself ensures these treasures will still be just as breathtaking and powerful for future generations.

By understanding the religion of the ancient Hawaiians, your trip along the Na Pali coast will be that much more insightful and meaningful. With sunset tours and dolphin sightseeing, you’ll be sure to have an amazing experience when you head onto the water with Kauai Sea Tours. To learn more about our sea tours and other adventures, call us at (808) 335-5309 today to speak with a friendly representative.

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