Oahu is filled with endless beauty around every turn and beneath every grain of sand. The perfect temperatures and friendly locals add to the attraction of this picturesque land. During my 11 day Oahu vacation, I explored the depths of the ocean floor with Reef Pirates, surfed the rolling waves that draw surfers from all over the world with Ty Gurney Surf School, and swam with the mysterious sharks that fill the deep waters with North Shore Shark Adventures. It’s this blend between serenity and aquatic adventure that truly captures my heart.
Scuba diving with Reef Pirates combines all of the best scuba experiences in one. Sunken ships and planes are both part of the adventure along with diving with schools of fish and doves of turtles. With a maximum of 6 divers per trip, Reef Pirates make each guest feel welcomed and part of an intimate experience. Being immersed in another world is eye-opening. You feel connected to your environment and begin to respect it more.
My new respect for the world below the surface has piqued my curiosity toward some of the more unfamiliar encounters with larger fish. While I’m not ready to dive in with a frenzy of sharks just yet, North Shore Shark Adventures offers the best alternative. I was able to see the beauty and splendor of Hawaii’s sharks as they rose from the depths to greet me. Three miles out to sea off Oahu’s beautiful North Shore, I climbed into a secure metal cage and watched dozens of Galapagos sharks calmly swim around me. I was free to view the sharks in their natural environment in a safe situation. The only problem is that my curiosity has grown even greater and I wanted to get out of the cage. (I’ll save that adventure for another time.)
It’s obvious that I love being in the water and participating in water activities, but the one water adventure that I haven’t been able to see much success was surfing. I took lessons in Fiji and Costa Rica, I attempted to surf in southern California, and I even own my own board, but I usually leave feeling discouraged and frustrated. I struggle with staying on the board, regardless of the size, and I was tempted to give up. My lesson with Ty Gurney Surf School changed everything! The instructor, Joey Carroll, instantly sparked my drive. His confidence in me made me feel invincible and on the first try, I stood up on the board and rode a wave. I felt like I had just climbed Kilimanjaro. Time after time, I stood up and surfed the waves for what seemed like hours. (I’m fully aware the I was only up for less than a minute, but let me have this one, ok?)
My success could be attributed to a number of things. I’m no longer fearful of what’s swimming below me. With experiences like snorkeling, scuba diving, and cage diving, I’ve lost the deep-rooted fear that would take hold me in the water. The waves in Oahu helped tremendously too. The long, gradual waves near Waikiki Beach are perfect for beginners. Most importantly, though, Brad can hugely be credited to my success. He was meant to be a surf instructor. I fed off of his positive demeanor and his passion for the ocean. He slipped tips into the conversation and encouraged my positive behaviors. It was as much a lesson in good teaching habits as it was surfing.
When I go on vacation, I’m searching for a memorable vacation filled with unique adventures. Oahu is bucket list vacation approved.