So there I was, 8am om the 24th December, lounging in my bed and booking some flights to Oahu and Kauai when my phone rings and ‘Archie Kalepa’ comes up on the caller display. I don’t even need to answer the call to know that the day is about to take off in an entirely different direction.
‘Hey Dom, you’re coming with us. We’re going to the back side of Molokai. In ten minutes, swim out to meet us. Oh, and bring your camera.’
The camera’s not waterproof, but five bin bags, ten minutes and a nervous swim later, I’m heaving myself up onto the bathing platform on the back of Archie’s custom built fishing boat. We aren’t even five miles off shore from Maui when we spot a whale breaching close by.
Life on board the boat was pretty special. We had a huge ice-chest full of beer, fruit juice and food, and a good crew of people all sharing the outrageous joy of this unexpected adventure to a place that not many get to see. The boat was bang up for the task – loads of space and grippy flat surfaces to clamber about on.
You can only access the back side of Molokai by boat or helicopter. We dropped anchor and body surfed a pefect small point break. On the shore, an empty wooden surfshack stood waiting for the locals who built it to come back and live amongst the timbers as they surfed the perfect point break. Archie explained that here is a place that srangers don’t just roll up and paddle out at (not least because you’d need a boat, and a guide) because people will shoot at you, and not with airguns.
We pullled into a bay where we spied a couple of cars on shore. There are no roads connecting that tiny town to the rest of the island, the tanker comes once a year with heavy goods and machines, so that’s how the cars got there. I reckon they don’t bother with MOTs or road tax. The reason for entering the bay was to see a pod of dolphins cruising about. We slowed the boat down and they took turns to swim in front of our bows before peeling off.
I couldn’t grasp the sheer enormity of Molokai’s sea cliffs when we passed them for the first time. It wasn’t until the return journey that the perspective sunk in and the incredible scale of the 2,000ft cliffs (the highest sea cliffs on Earth) can be appreciated. Watch Jurassic Park, during the intro, the helicopter sweeps over the valleys on the back side of Molokai.
When we got back to Maui and trailored the boat to a petrol station to refuel it felt like we’d been away for months, funny how short, sharp shock trips give you that feeling whilst I bet when I get back to the UK from Hawaii in 3 weeks time it’ll feel like I’ve never been away.