Dixie Maru Cove (Kapukahehu Beach)

Dixie Maru Cove, Molokai

Located on Molokai's west shore, Dixie Maru Cove (see more photos, view panorama) has one of the best swimming beaches on the island. The protected sandy cove features lava outcroppings on each side and is a nice place to enjoy the water, whether it's for a relaxing swim or snorkeling. Fringed by a reef, the beach usually has calm waters during the summer. This is when the swimming and snorkeling conditions are the best. Even though the bay is more protected than the other beaches in this area (such as nearby Papohaku Beach), stay out of the water if the surf is up. There are no lifeguards here.

Dixie Maru Cove got its name "Dixie Maru" from a Japanese fishing boat name plate. In Japanese culture, "maru" is a suffix added by sailors to their ship names as this term connotes something that is beloved. The term "maru" in itself represents a sense of perfection. It was in the 1920s when the Japanese sailboat Dixie Maru was wrecked off the shore and its name plate was then hung near the beach's gate. From then on, the remote beach has been fondly called Dixi Maru Cove. Its Hawaiian name is Kapukahehu Beach.

Dixie Maru Cove takes some time to get to as it is located on Molokai's remote west shore. However, the road that leads here is paved. On most days the beach is only sparsely visited. The beach is backed by thorny kiawe trees, so be careful when looking for a shady spot under one of the trees.

Editor's note: Last time we visited Dixie Maru Beach one of us stepped into a big fish metal fishhook (see here), luckily wearing running shoes. It was really difficult to remove the hook from the shoe. So it is a good idea to wear shoes here to protect your feet from any discarded fishhooks, as well as the thorns from the kiawe trees that are plentiful on most beaches in this area.

Dixie Maru Cove Overview

  • Small, crescent-shaped bay with a sandy beach
  • Best area to swim is the middle and nearshore section of the beach where the ocean bottom is sandy
  • Named after a Japanese fishing boat that was wrecked offshore
  • Swimming and snorkeling possible when the ocean is calm

Located at the end of Pohakuloa Road. Where the road ends, make a right turn onto the small paved road that leads to the parking area., Maunaloa HI 96770

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Reviews and Comments:
Very good swimming conditions even on an extremely windy day. Nice sand. Great location for watching the sunset. Long drive but very worth it. Would visit again in a heartbeat.
JudgeDan, Sat Nov 22, 2014
This little cove is a perfect getaway. We went around 9 in the morning and were the only ones there that morning. We had a wonderful picnic under a tree. We didn't go swimming even though the ocean looked calm, but since there is no lifeguard we didn't want to take a risk. The drive to the beach is very scenic too. We will be back!
Sonya, Mon Aug 27, 2012