Saturday, 10 November 2012

A Long Time Between Drinks (Figuratively, Not Literally - That Would Be Silly...)

I start with the disclaimer that this post is not really about a breakfast paddle. I'm really just writing about some great water-related stuff from my few months in the Pacific. Its been a long time - nearly six months - since I've paddled here in Perth. Having spent several of those months in Hawaii and completely missed the WA winter, I returned last weekend, bring my trusty new steed - an Epic V10 Sport - with me.

Wave-skiing at Waikiki...

I had about four paddles in the Sandwich Isles, and even had a paddling class with ocean racing champion Zsolt Szadovzski. Mostly those paddles were more about my swimming technique, but it's the thought that counts. Molokai Geoff took me to the Mokes - near Kailua, Oahu - where I managed to bend my rudder post in a turtle-avoidance manoeuvre in amongst the reefs. In another paddle around Birdshit Rock, I made thirteen attempts to get back on the ski after I fell out just twice, resulting in a purple chest (or that part of my torso that resembles one) the next day and having my left testicle wedged on the outer side of the cockpit (pardon the pun) whilst the meat, other potato and the attached 100+kg of human swung onto the inboard side of the boat resulted in a few choice examples of Australian vernacular such as 'Oh golly gosh my crikey'. Or thereabouts.

Passing Birdshit Rock
Birdshit Rock is about 4km out from the mouth of the Kailua Canal. Oddly, having lived in Kailua for 2 years and surfed there almost every day, I don't recall the chop being so significant, but then again, it probably wasn't. In hindsight, the wobbles I was experiencing were most likely self-induced as I struggled with the stability of the slick, long hull. Molokai Geoff had no such troubles on his V12 and even when he did fall off was back in before my blade hit the water. Bastard.

I was almost run down by a Hobie Cat as I rounded Birdshit, and with constant death-wobbles I couldn't look anywhere but right ahead. Molokai Geoff was yelling, but I wasn't hearing, so it wasn't until the end of the paddle that he was able to describe the vision of loveliness that had nearly run me down with the Hobie Cat. It didn't matter - it could have been crewed by Jen Hawkins, Nicole Kidman and Sophie Vergalas all in the buff - because if I'd looked sideways I would have been out and swept onto Birdshit Rock...

The Kailua Canal leading to MG's house
The Kailua canal, which MG's house backs on to, is choc full of sea turtles and Hammerhead sharks. The sea turtles are huge and more hazardous to the boat than the sharks as they will take out a rudder if you hit one. What is even better is that only 200 yards up the canal is a pub that also backs on to the water. Pinky's Pupu Bar and Grill is a great place to go on a Sunday morning to watch back-to-back NFL games. And it would be criminal to go past it without stopping for one of their famous frosty fishbowls of beer...

For the victor come the spoils.
Unlike Perth where we now have to hand over the deeds to the house just to get a pint, beer in Hawaii is still at decent prices - the fishbowl above? $5. One-litre stein at the Dixie Bar and Grill in Aiea, Oahu - $6.50. And if you think that's tops then it gets better because while I was there the little Aussie dollar was making the greenback look like the Pacific peso. They were almost paying me to drink their beer. Still, I've never been one to shy away from doing a bit of charity work - in this case stimulating the US economy single-handedly.

What follows below are a few pics from our paddle out to the Mokes, just of Lanikai, Oahu. I'd never been out there before and the route was pretty treacherous due to numerous bomboras, reefs and swells coming in from different directions. On a number of occasions I thought my scone was going to be introduced to the coral at a great rate of knots, only to be pissed and amazed to remain upright.

The video above is of Molokai Geoff surfing between the two Mokes. My enthusiasm to have a go was far outweighed by my unco-ness on the V10 so I left it to the expert.

The Mokes were awesome - there is the most serene tidal pool on the seaward side, and I was filthy on myself for not bringing a six pack to drink in the thirty seconds of sunlight my bloodnutted body can tolerate before looking like a deadset lobster. You can see how good it was by the video above.

I enjoyed my time away on a scouting mission for new talent to join Gorilla Biscuit Inc. There are some rather prime examples of Spam-fed monsters over there who would be a great addition to the biscuit line. But after six months away, it is really good to be back home. Thanks for the patience and getting this blog to over 5000 hits.

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