April 1, 2013: Kealakekua Kayak Tour First Day Back
by Mike King
We were pleased to join a kayaking tour to the Captain Cook Monument on April 1, 2013 (three months after tours were halted in the bay). We didn't mind driving past several locals who were protesting the moratorium on public access to the site... we considered it part of the American culture to be able to disagree and lobby for change. Sadly, we were verbally accosted by an older Hawaiian male who purported to be leading the effort. His vulgar language towards our guides was very offensive and when he directed his anger toward us, the tourist, his swearing and ranting caused me to lose all respect for his mission of spreading his opinion. At one point he exclaimed to my wife, "I hope you F*&^*& drown in the ocean." He continued to mock our guides and finally, the police interceded and instructed him to leave the area or be arrested.
We had an amazing time snorkeling and kayaking in the bay. The guides we had took the time necessary to make sure we were appropriately outfitted, including those of us who had never before kayaked on the ocean.
Upon our return to the docks, we were forced to try to navigate rough seas. At one point, my wife and my kayak overturned in the pounding surf. Our guide John Thompson leaped from his kayak and swam to us, helping us get into our kayak. He swam alongside our kayak until we were safely on shore. At the same time, the Aloha Kayak team of professionals, led personally by owner Iwa, worked seamlessly to get all the tourists safely onshore.
Upon our arrival back to the dock, I reconsidered the cause for the protest and at the conclusion felt very secure in saying that it was professional guides that helped us complete our vacation tour without injury today.
I hope that the State of Hawaii maintains licensing and procedures that ensure that qualified guides provide trips for visitors. This is our 5th trip to the Big Island in the past 5 years. In the past we have been tempted to take advantage of the low price offered by locals for rentals but always felt more sure with a guide who worked in a legally operated establishment... it certainly paid off today and I gladly endorse Aloha Kayaks and hope that the disgusting, vulgar and mean spirited man who tried to disrupt our vacation is soon dealt with and minimized.