Some of you may remember a blog post from earlier this year in which I shared my bucket list, my list of things to do before I 'kick the bucket'. It's a relatively small list so far and it recently got a little shorter. While on vacation with my family in Hawaii I was able to cross something off that list, something I've wanted to do since the last time I was in Hawaii 9 years ago.
When I was younger I was fairly shy and afraid to do new things, especially on my own. This kept me from taking surf lessons on my first trip to Hawaii and I've regretted it ever since. Surfing has always intrigued me and was something I had always wanted to learn so when I decided to make a bucket list it was one of the top entries.
When my mom booked our trip to Hawaii this year I made it very clear that my number one intention for this trip was to go surfing and I would do whatever it took to make it happen. A friend recommended a surf school her family used called Hawaiian Fire which is owned and operated by fire fighters and who conducts their lesson on a more secluded beach, away from the crowds of Waikiki. They were amazing. The beach was empty, the weather was hot and sunny, it couldn't have been more perfect. HF supplied us with reef shoes and rash guards before giving us a quick safety briefing and an even quicker rundown of the surfing basics. A few minutes spent learning where to stand, how to stand and proper paddling led to us being in the water in no time. Once in the water I got into position beside an instructor who watched for the right waves. When one came along he would say when to start paddling, give us a push and away we went. Paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle and shoot to your feet. I rode out the first wave that came like I had been born to surf! It was amazing!
Paddle back out to the instructors again to wait for the next waves. I rode nearly every wave I was pushed into and by my third or fourth run I was being taught how to do tricks (which I never did manage to land).
I had an amazing time out there and was disappointed when the time was up and we had to leave. I was thankful for such an amazing surf school with friendly instructors who helped me accomplish a long time goal and have fun while doing it. I highly recommend Hawaiian Fire to anyone looking to take surf lessons on Oahu.
I didn't think the rest of the trip would live up to that experience until we made our way to the North Shore and mom and I booked a tour to swim with sharks. Somewhere along the lines I've become a thrill seeker and adrenaline junkie and I was pumped to be able to fulfill another need for adventure. We were taken 3 miles off shore from Haleiwa Harbor where a pod of Galapagos Sharks were known to hang around collecting scraps leftover from the crab and shrimp fishermen. Once there we were handed snorkel gear and jumped into the cage off the side of the boat. There was probably 15 sharks swimming all around us, so close we could pet them had we been brave enough. Words can't describe how freakin' awesome (as mom puts it) that was. We had 20 minutes to chill in the cage and watch the sharks swimming around. These aren't any little tiny fish either, Galapagos Sharks can reach lengths of up to 12 feet!
For anyone visiting the North Shore of Oahu and feeling a little adventurous, I also highly recommend checking out Hawaii Shark Encounters. You won't be disappointed!
As for me, I'm back to reality after an amazing time with my family in a beautiful paradise and looking forward to future adventures and opportunities to cross more items off my bucket list.
Oh, and some slightly less exciting, but still interesting events from the trip:
- I was asked to be photographed by a random Japanese dude to show friends back home how beautiful the women are in America. They now know all the truly beautiful women are Canadian...
- Celebrity sighting on flight to Vancouver - Grace Park from Hawaii 5-0 was sitting two rows in front of me.