Serendipity rocks. In this case, Serendipity rocked with the help of the Mokulua Islands and a media tour provided by Bob Twogood of Twogood Kayaks on Hawai’i’s Oahu Island. I’m picky about sponsored trips, not wanting to go on a trip just because it’s all inclusive if it’s something I’m really not going to enjoy and love to write about. But when Hawai’i was nice enough to ask what kind of trip I would like to take, I jumped on the chance to try out all the adventure the islands had to offer. I’ve already written about diving with mantas, swimming with dolphins, learning to surf and exploring lava tubes. With my trip just about over, and feeling a bit worn down, I wondered what a seemingly simple paddle could provide in the way of experience. I was tired. I was ignorant. And I didn’t know what Serendipity had in store for me that day.
Leaving from the shores of Kailua Beach, my guide Jim, another client and I headed out into the sparkling waters of Kailua Bay. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll mention it again, I love water. Being in it, near it, on it. And this was my first time trying out an open top kayak in waters that would not freeze me like the Puget Sound does. Ahhhh, the warm waters of Hawai’i.
Jim takes us past a low lying island with fisherman testing the waters, hoping their lunch with take the bait while the sun is low to the East. We skirt a coral reef just below the surface and then head into some larger waves as we circle part of Moku Nui, the larger of the two island that make up the Mokes, as they are known locally. They sit a half mile off shore, by my non-official estimate. Far enough that there were only three other people on the island when we arrived and some in the waters around it. As we started to circle the island, the waves got a bit more than I wanted to handle in the open kayak. Jim, being a great, attentive guide, circled us back the way we came towards the lee side of the island for a beach landing and some time exploring on foot (oh yeah, some how I had forgotten my flip-flops, so ‘on foot’ really meant, on my feet, which shouldn’t be a big deal, except the island is all volcanic rock, except the beach, and hard on the feet, just like this parenthetical sentence, with all its commas, is hard on the brain).
After landing we stretch our legs on the nice sandy beach, laugh as a notorious local tries to pick up the two sun bathing beauties on towels and I head to the far end of the small island with my camera as a couple of surfers and a kayaker have caught my interest. I’m in Hawai’i, I need photos of surfers, right? While these are not the huge waves of the North Shore, it’s still action and I snap off a number of photos of the two people in the water that afternoon. She’s on a wave, then he’s on a wave. A kayaker goes by. Nothing big. I wander back to my kayak for lunch.
We play around the island for a while and as we are heading down the beach, the girl surfer is exiting the water. Now, for me, it’s always odd approaching anyone saying “I’ve got some photos of you that I thought you might like”. It does matter on the situation, as some places it can seem really creepy. But we’re in Hawai’i, the sun is out and I’m feeling bold. I stroll over and introduce myself, then show her the pictures.
Her face lights up. More than just lighting up. She gets VERY excited. More so than seems rational, really, for a few ok shots of her surfing (not good light, smallish waves, can’t see her face much. I can pick my photos apart more if you like). But then she explains it all to me as Serendipity shows how she was working behind the scenes this entire time.
It turns out the guy in the photos is her brother and they grew up on the island. They come out to the Mokes all the time and love surfing the area. She brought a camera and they often take turns taking pictures of each other on the breaks between the islands. But what she’s really wanted, for quite a while now, is a picture of her AND her brother together riding the same wave to give to their parents. And just by dumb luck….errr….Serendipity, I got the shot. Made even more amazing by the fact that I only saw them on the same wave once the whole time I was shooting.
And there you have it. Although the story continues just a bit further. That all happened back in the Fall and the girl was nice enough to send me a thank you card after I sent her the files on disc. I really liked the image on the card and have kept it on my desk ever since. It’s a nice reminder of Hawai’i and the role Serendipity plays in our lives. It also served as a calling card for the photographers of that image when I found myself in need of niche shooters to interview for a post on Digital Photography School. I have since interviewed the Sweets and it’ll be posted soon, if not by the time you read this.
And the Serendipity wheel just keeps right on rolling.
I want to thank Bob again for covering my paddle trip so I could connect the dots with more great people of Hawai’i. His guide that day, Jim, was an interesting fellow, full of local lore and knowledge. I’d gladly head out into the waves with him again, if only to try to get all the way around the Mokes next time.
If you’re looking for other outdoor adventures on Oahu, check out Uptake.com’s listings complete with reviews from around the web.