When the sun did finally make an appearance for us in Hawaii, we realised it was absolutely worth the wait. One rainy afternoon Adam and I were sitting in our little airbnb flat trying to figure out what to do - all our bookings for stuff to do on the North Shore had been canceled and we were googling and calling around trying to see what we could do to fill our time.
Things were looking a bit grim for us when our airbnb host knocked on our door to see how we were doing. We'd had a few chats with Beccy and Ryan when we arrived but hadn't really had much of a chance to get to know them - but just when we were feeling a bit stranded, they had a few ideas for us.
Turns out they're super amazing adventurers who help people have an amazing time in Hawaii - as in, that's their actual job!
Adam really wanted to surf but wasn't keen on joining one of the group lessons we'd seen around the island, overcrowding and learning to fall in front of a group of people isn't really his thing. Ryan and Beccy are both amazing surfers so Ryan offered to take Adam out on the water one morning at a quiet beach while Beccy and I sat in the sand and chatted DSLRs and photography tricks.
They also pointed us in the direction of some awesome hikes really close to where we were staying and gave us the inside scoop on where to eat from acai bowls to food trucks. They even made us homemade acai bowls after surfing! I've had a fair few airbnb hosts over the years but these guys were the best.
Stumbling on this view after days of rain and feeling a bit sad about it all was one of the defining moments of our trip. Oahu was just so beautiful and fulfilled every cliche Jurrasic Park dream I've ever had. The greenery, the fruit falling from the trees, the humidity in the air and not a thing to be heard but our own footfall and the birds - it was the definition of paradise and definitely worth the wait.
And saving the best for last
The one thing that Adam and I had wanted to do when we got to Hawaii was swim with sharks, but it just wasn't meant to be. No tour company would take us because of the bad weather, and when it finally cleared we just didn't have enough time. But when we got chatting to Ryan about it, I asked if he knew anywhere we could swim with dolphins which is what I really wanted to do. I had heard prior to our trip that it just wasn't possible to swim with dolphins in Hawaii, but I thought I would ask anyway.
If anyone was going to make this dream of mine come true, it was going to be Beccy and Ryan. Turns out they go swimming with dolphins sometimes and they offered to take Adam and I. It's not something they regularly do because it's tricky to guarantee a dolphin spotting, but the conditions on our last morning in Oahu looked perfect and through his contacts Ryan learned that dolphins had been sighted regularly in one spot off the island.
It was perfect. There were wild dolphins everywhere. It was just Adam, Ryan and I and they were swimming all around us, jumping out of the water and going about their business as if we weren't even there. They seemed a bit curious and kept coming back to take a look at what we were about, but they didn't seem too afraid to get right up close and take a good look. There were even two baby dolphins in the group and oh my goodness they were cute!
After a while a crowed showed up on a tour boat, which made me even more grateful for a personal guide to help us get in early on paddle boards and have a more peaceful experience with the dolphins. Wildlife harassment by tourists is something I hear a lot about in my work and so it meant a lot to me to be able to approach the dolphins in such a way that they could leave if they didn't want us around - where as the tourist boat just chased them around the bay.
One thing that our time in Oahu cemented for me was how exercise and healthy eating can make you feel so good. I know this is common sense for most people, and it's not news to me either, but it's so much easier to take care of yourself on holiday than it is when you're in your normal routine. Well, it is for me anyway. And Hawaii makes it so easy to hike and swim and surf, there is fruit literally everywhere and fish and all the good things... Beccy and Ryan talked about food and exercise so much and with so much enthusiasm that it was infectious and really got me thinking. I'll put those thoughts in another post but when we left Oahu we left feeling pretty good, both happy and healthy!
And I'm sure it goes without saying by now, but if you're ever on Oahu and looking for an amazing time, please save yourself the experience of a big tour - it's just no fun. Let Beccy and Ryan take you out and show you the best time, they're so much fun.