Our driver slowed to a stop at the back entrance to the Twogood Kayaks shop in downtown Kailua. We exited the van and went into the shop to get geared up for the days adventures. One member of the Twogood crew that was inside handed out the gear. He went over the sizing individually with each person to be sure there wouldn't be any issues with the gear after the group left the shop. Once you were issued the gear another Twogood crew member was waiting outside to go over how to use the gear as well as how to pack the dry bag. Before we got back in the van to go down to the boat ramp we were all outfitted with a dry bag to pack personal items that you wanted to keep dry, a snorkel mask, swim fins, and a cooler packed with a lunch.
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Travel Blog #118 - Twogood Kayaks Wildlife Adventure Tour
The Twogood Kayaks van pulled up to pick us up in front of our hotel in Waikiki. The van driver go out of the van, introduced himself, then opened the door and invited us in. We got in the van and buckled in for the 20 minute trip across the island to the Twogood Kayaks Headquarters.
When we got to the boat ramp we met Kevin, who was our guide for the day. He had come down before us and already unloaded the kayaks and the paddles from the truck and lined them up on the edge of the shore. He went over some of the basics of kayaking with the group before he launched us into the water. He showed us how to paddle, steer, and get back on the kayak in case we fell off.
As soon as the group was all in the water we began to paddle towards the Mokuleia Islands that sit just off shore of Lani Kai Beach. It didn't take long for small islands on the horizon to grow in size until their peaks towered over our heads. Kevin went over our plan for how we were going to land before he paddled into the beach and pulled his boat on shore so he could wade back out to help the other members of the group make the landing onto the beach. Kevin showed a great deal of skill in handling the boats through the rough waters near the shore and got everyone on shore without any major event.
Once we got on the island we took off our life jackets and got our cameras out of the dry bags so we could have them handy throughout the nature hike. Kevin led us along a trail that led around the island to a large tide pool called the "Queens Pond" that we took turns swimming in. Kevin provided a wealth of knowledge to us throughout the tour, he went over the geologic creation of the islands. He talked about the natural history of the islands, about what lives on them, and even what dwells in the seas underneath them. On the way back from the pond Kevin went ahead of us to watch the boats and gave us about a half an hour to eat and check out the island on our own. When we were done we met Kevin back at the boats that were all huddled together on the beach located on the southwest side of the island.
After our group all got back to the boats Kevin launched us one by one until we were all slowly making our way back to Lani Kai beach, which was our days snorkel location. Once we arrived to Lani Kai we walked around on the soft powdery white sand for a couple of minutes before we got back in the water to go for a snorkel.
The bottom of the ocean was covered with large puffs of coral that had schools of fish swimming all in between them. We even came across a turtle that was leisurely swimming across the reef. We kept our distance from it, but still got close enough to zoom in and get a few pictures with our waterproof cameras. After swimming near the turtle for a while we eventually moved on in search of other sea creatures. Eventually we made it back to the shore where Kevin was warming up some special coffee with his gas burner.
Kevin had first mentioned the coffee when we were still at the boat ramp at Kailua Beach. It is a special imported blend that he gets in Chinatown. Even after building up my expectations all day I was surprised how good his coffee was. This subtle touch is something that I love to see in the tour guides that run our excursions. Making coffee on the beach is something that is not in the brochure, it is something that most of the other guides would not even include in their trips, it's something that Kevin does on his own to try to make the trip as enjoyable as possible. This commitment to excellence did not go unnoticed. When interviewing the other participants of the trip after the excursion was over, each and every person I talked to mentioned how much they appreciated Kevin and how good of a job he did throughout the day. Consistently providing experiences like this for their customers is what has made Twogood Kayaks a success since it was founded in 1982.