North ShoreAs ever I wake up early and realise that I am not flying out until after 9pm so have another full day to amuse myself before leaving the islands. The surf forecast for the south coast is pants but the North Shore is supposed to be huge so I decide to hire a car and try and get a picture of myself riding the huge waves on my new GoPro camera.

Easier said than done though because all the cars on the island are hired out. even the hooky hire dudes known as Rent-a-wreck dont have anything. Avis, Hertz, etc are all looking for nearly $300 a day for a Ford Ka or equivalent with a minimum 3 day hire. Using guile and cunning however I manage to lay my hands on a vehicle for $160 which in the circumstances is a right result, even if it smells decidedly dodgy and the transaction is all a bit cloak and dagger with cash payments etc.

Apart from trying to get myself killed on the North Shore for the sake of a glorious picture I am using the opportunity to do a complete lap of the island, and have my new room mate Neal from Saskatawan along with me in the front, as well as Manon and two Brazilian Girls she knows called Elluar and Isabela coming along for the ride in the back.

Crowded PipelineThe scenery of course does not disappoint the others who havent got outside of Waikiki yet, and the waves everywhere on the North Coast are absolutely pumping. There is a massive crowd watching Pipeline as usual and one that is almost as big as that in the water around the break. As if the wave wasn’t hard enough you have to slalom your way through the flotsom. Not everybody manages that each time and the carnage is unbelievable. I also see the worst drop in I have ever seen in my life. One guy flying along in the tube only for another to blatantly drop 20 feet on top of him at about 45mph with the wave whumping both of them in the ensuing wipeout! Awful and that nobody was seriously hurt was a miracle. Surfer number 1 in this story had a few things to say to surfer number 2 you can rest assured however!

We opt for the edge of Hale’iwa lagoon which is sheltered from the monster waves breaking past the harbour and will be great for the girls who know nothing of surfing, but sadly the lifeguards will not allow any boards to be hired out due to the pumping surf. Denied we cant hire anywhere else and I cant leave everyone on the shore for two hours so I am not going to get a chance to take on huge North Shore waves on this trip after all. Never mind it might be  good thing for my own health and they will let us hire Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boards for a trip up the river that feeds the lagoon, where we can supposedly see loads of turtles as well as trying out the latest surfing craze where you have a huge board and a long canoe paddle to propel yourself.

Eloa, Isabella and ManonWe pay up, are in our swimwear (what little there is of the Brazilian bikinis) and good to go when Elluar goes back to the car one last time and locks the keys in the boot. #*$#%&#&£!!!!!! Not happy doesnt quite cover it.

If they weren’t so pretty I would go apoplectic. (Can you tell me which one you would forgive first?) However I am now stood only in my swim shorts with bare feet on a ticking clock for the car hire, missing my plane, another nights room rental, admin fees, etc where as the others have no rush at all to be back in Waikiki nor the grasp of the English language to deal with the situation effectively. Consequently I have to fall on my sword and tell the others to go out on the SUPs without me. They later say it is the best thing they have done on the island whereas I did not even get wet, instead spending the next hour in the steaming heat trying to persuade people in the surf shop to ring locksmiths for me on their mobiles, then trying to get the tradesmen out on Boxing day to release the keys. (To rub the salt in I can all the while see and hear the massive glorious surf that is the reason I hired the car crashing down on the reef, which is so close I can almost taste it, but never get near to.) Miraculously one locksmith does come out fairly quickly and has the keys in my hand in under an hour. I then have to swim out to the others who are over running on the hire of boards because they are seeing so many turtles and having such great time, to shepherd them back in to the beach so I can drive us the hour back to the south of the island hopefully returning the car on time and make it to my shuttle bus. Nail biting stuff but nothing I’m not used to and I get the car back with 85 seconds to spare to find the guy standing and tapping his feet outside the hire shop, which he has already closed up for the night!

A frantic and more than a bit frustrating end to a great stay, and I have an hour to enjoy a few beers and say my goodbyes to everyone before heading for the airport.




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