Words by Andrew Somps
Photos by Flip Mayernik
When a group of friends and I set sail for the Mokulua islands off Oahu, Hawaii we had nothing but a couple kayaks and the shirts on our backs. The water that day, although unmatched in beauty, matched everyone’s feelings – rowdy and excited, loud and bright. Limpid aqua blues playfully swirled into deep stormy dyes of grey as our kayaks sliced through the unknown waters.
We were soon face to face with unrelenting six foot waves that had no pity for our plastic flotation devices. They jolted our kayaks and flipped us like pancakes into the savage depths of a perilous sea. We flailed and scrambled but ultimately rallied together and remounted our sea-faring steeds. Continuing on, with surprisingly little interruption, we finally made it to the islands. We set up camp and cooked a most-deserved meal of steak and pepper kabobs. We ended the day telling stories and sat in awe watching the mountains and clouds perform a delicate dance in the sky.
On our journey back home, we heard cries for help and promptly made a bee line for the desperate sounds of distress. A group of fellow kayakers had taken in too much water and were sinking quickly. The vindictiveness of the sea can be daunting but the combined efforts of men will often triumph, regardless of the challenge ahead. Calm, confident, and reassuring communication ultimately allowed for a successful, and safe, rescue. Fear has a funny way of disappearing when it hears people talking.
As human beings our ability to effectively communicate and problem solve as a group is very self rewarding. We can look back at what we’ve accomplished and proudly remember everyone’s contribution. And once an adventure is cemented in our memories, it never leaves. It’s the gift that we never grow tired of. It’s the gift that inspires the future, the lessons that prove time and time again that anything is possible.