2 LEAKY KAYAKS
by E.E. Huls
It all began some 25-years ago, inconspicuously enough… two young, green, and dumb “ha’ole” boys filled with a newFound genuine love for the Hawaiian islands, her natural organic beauty, and her gorgeous, pristine blue ocean waters, and the abundance and variety of marineLife swimming there-in. In particular, the magical, mystical, playful, “kolohe”-spirited “naia”, the dolphins, the “angels of the sea”.
Richard, arriving from Japan where he had spent a good number of years stationed there with the United States Navy, marrying a young Japanese girl, and starting a family. And then bringing that family to Hawai’i, to the island of Maui, where he met his new friend Edward. Edward a someWhat maverick, ne’er-do-well adventurer with the same entrepreneurial spirit as his soon to be BFF, Richard.
And then both of them taking-over an already existing “bed ‘n breakfast” located on the “wild” western coastLine of O’ahu and run by the legendary “dolphin lady”, Terry Pinney… she needed to get to Florida for “healing” and so she put her small business up for sale ~ Richard found some money, and purchased it from her.
And so it was that each and every morning, before the sun peaked over the Waianae mountain range, Richard and Edward were already paddlingOut in “two leaky kayaks” with two international visitors in each of our kayaks, into the middle of Makua Bay. A bay where the dolphins had been coming for 1,000’s of years to both mate and spawn their babies.
The 4-guests were transported from our little grass shack, our headQuarters on Upena Rd. surrounding Makaha Bay… we drove them up the coastLine to Makua Bay in our older, rustBucket beater Kia “Sportage”. Once there we unloaded and walked our umbrella, beach chairs, and cooler down to the beach and setUp our campSite. We would then stretchOut and exercise our guests before they hit the water, with slow-moving meditative movements, alternating days whereBy Richard, with his years of yoga practice and teaching, would give them simple yoga movements coupled with lower diaphragmatic breathing,… And on the alternate days, Edward would run them thru similar slow-moving, meditative exercises incorporating his years of practice and teaching of Shaolin Chinese Qigong/Chi Kung
And then it was time to hit the water in our two “not-so-water-tight” kayaks. Once out in the middle of the Bay, we outFitted our 4-guests with masks, fins, snorkels, and flotation devices, and then tutored them in the “protocol of swimming with dolphins in the wild”. We asked them to slowly ease themSelves into the water and then reminded them to just “hover” and wait for these beautiful “angels of the sea” to come to them. And 9 X’s outta’ 10, the “nai’a”would showUp bringing with them their enthusiasm, their curiosity, and their funLoving, playful, acrobatic, circus show. These amazing mammals truly became the “stars of the show” that became known as “DOLPHINS AND YOU”.
And as Richard and I leaned-back in our kayaks after our guests were in the water, our paddles in our laps, our hands clasped behind our heads lookingUp at the blue sky and to the back of Makua Valley, watching the early morning Sun comeUp over the Waianae Mt. range, we could not help but bustOut smiling at one another and one of us saying to the other, “And can you imagine we’re getting paid for this” ?!
We were so fresh and new to this amazing island chain of Hawai’i, and to this wild, western shoreLine of the island of O’ahu where things unfold differently, more slowly, more deliberately, and more “Hawaiian style”. Continually amazed by the new adventures that were revealed to us each and every morning, by the wondrous underWater Hawaiian waters, the myriad of marineLife, and the very special and unique “mana” (energy) that only Hawai’i exhibits. One thing that did not change, was the sheer joy and happiness and the big smiles on the faces of our 4-guests each morning as we drove them back into town, to Waikiki, and dropped them off at their hotels. The sincere gratitude and genuine gratefulness that they exhibited to us for gifting to them the “Experience of a Lifetime” and a “Journey of Self Discovery “… two catch-phrases that we would later incorporate into our advertising, promotion, and marketing.
We soon realized that what we had created for ourSelves was not merely a “job”, yet rather a passionate “mission”, a vehicle in which we could now present to international visitors, our Hawai’i…
it’s customs, it’s culture, it’s rituals, it’s spirituality, it’s raw, natural, organic beauty, it’s islander people, their own unique “pidgin’ English”, and of course, these very amazing and beautiful “angels of the sea”, the dolphins, the “naia”.
And soon our little tour and diving experience began to grow in popularity as word got out that there was a very unique & special adventure waiting for visitors to Hawai’i who had an adventurous spirit, who had the courage to step out of their “safe lane” back home… some of whom had never seen the ocean, much less swam in it. And then to encounter dolphins and other Pacific marineLife, was simply “fintastic”.
And it was not too long thereAfter that we added a third member to our fledgling tour, “Rautea”, the proud, handsome & powerful, young Tahitian waterMan who quite quickly became the “cornerStone”, the lynchPin to our morning tours. Of course it required us to part with some of our profit$ and purchase a 3rd kayak. And yet now we were able to accommodate 6-people each morning. Rautea brought with him a genuine “Polynesian spirt” of joy and funLoving, unbridled enthusiasm. And his madd “culinary skills” were off-the-charts as he would cookUp for us his mother’s recipe for “Poisson Cru Tahitienne” (Marinated Raw Fish to absolutely die for).
And like any other upstart business that gains immediate success and popularity, we began expanding as we hired more local Hawaiian young men, recruiting them from the nearby Makaha Canoe Club. And soon 3-kayaks became four, four became eight and “poof”, eight became a dozen !!
There we were on the beach each morning, Richard and I with 10-strong young Polynesian warriors/waterMen, each one standing tall beside his kayak with his 2-guests already sitting inside the kayak, clutching their own paddle, and extremely excited and curious as to what they were about to experience. Some mornings we found ourSelves looking out to an 8-foot shoreBreak crashing-down on the sand as the big winter swells would wrap-around from the North Shore to the Wesside, Creating some challenging conditions for us.… There was a certain amount aprehensión, not necessarily fear, yet I admit it was scary. If we were nervous, can you imagine the feeling that was running thru the minds & hearts of our guests, some of which were timid Japanese visitors.
And yet we all knew that we had Rautea as our leader, our captain, who we trusted to safely guide us thru that pounding shoreBreak. And so there we stood and we waited, and we waited. and then when Raiatea said, “We Go !!”, you best believe that we dragged those kayaks with our two guest in them, down into the water, jumped in and paddled like we had never paddled before. Only once did I not make it thru that first wave of the next set…
That time I and my two Japanese guests paddled like hell, yet I sensed that we were doomed as the bow of our kayak began lifting up to the sky and then we went up and backOver the top as the white-water consumed us and held us down for what seemed like an eternity. Yet those two small, timid Japanese guests popped their heads up out of the water and cameUp laughing while they spat seaWeed outta’ their mouths. We made our way back to the shore, I asked them if they were allRight, they smiled and nodded their heads, and I asked them if they wanted to still paddle out and encounter the dolphins ?! Without a pause they excitedly nodded their heads and said “yes”. I was much more vigilant the 2nd attempt… we made it out past the shoreBreak into the bay, had an incredible encounter with the dolphins, and my two Japanese guests could not stop talking about their “experience of a lifeTime” the entire drive back into Waikiki. After that I never ever made a disparaging remark about the courage of Japanese visitors.
Because this writer/blogger sometimes tends to be overly verbose and long-winded, and has been accused of this unconscionable crime… And because our new social media/digital marketing manager Steven has given me specific parameters including “wordCount”… and because It appears that I’ve hit my max “wordCount”, I will pickUp this thread on my next blog about “DOLPHINS AND YOU/AYC-And You Creations” and it’s early years… look for it
My wish that you were entertained by this, my very first effort…