As the gate swings open, four old dogs play in the yard, noses to the dirt, weaving and swerving around boats, an aging tractor and a maze of white styrofoam boxes with practiced ease. Under the hot Wai’anae sun, dive tanks stand in haphazard formation like miniature gray soldiers with “Kaiohi” stamped uniformly across them. Kaiohi Tropical Fish owner and diver Rufus Kimura emerges from under his tented aquarium area and, for a second, it is easy to forget that this man is at the forefront of a very small and quite unheard of underwater revolution.
The 23-foot boat’s twin outboard motors leave behind a frothy wake as we cruise out of the sheltered estuary of Hawaii Kai. Rounding the corner out of the bay, the silky morning water turns to small white chops. A lone canoe paddler strokes hunched against wind. Rain clouds blanket the distant Ko’olau mountains in a cold gray mist that has mixed with the ocean spray to coat my glasses and dampen my sweatshirt. My mission today: to catch a fish.
In a densely settled Honolulu neighborhood, a Jamaican man and a man originally from New Jersey are spending the afternoon on their hands and knees harvesting olena, sugarcane and bananas. This unlikely duo is working together to promote sustainability in a way that is relevant to modern society.
Approximately 8,000 minors in Hawaii are on probation, under supervision or in custody. But in Hawaii’s justice system, Surfrider Spirit Sessions is giving a choice to teens that adjudicated youth in the rest of the nation do not have: to go surfing.
As a community-based non-profit organization, Surfrider Spirit Sessions (SSS) teaches youth in Hawaii’s justice system life lessons and positive social skills through surfing and other ocean activities. Many of the kids initially express skepticism about surfing or even swimming. As the weeks go by and their surfing abilities improve, Spirit Sessions asks them, “If you can do this, what else can you achieve that you didn’t think was possible?”
Four men stand poised at the edge of the Nu‘uanu Pali lookout, ready and alert. They come prepared, armed with ropes, carabineers, helmets and gloves. These men are members of the Honolulu Fire Department’s elite Rescue 2 team, and today, as part of their mountain rescue training, they will rappel nearly 270 feet down the windward face of the Pali.