6 weeks on this farm was not enough & to fit all the stories into this blog would make it a book, so ill try my best to keep it short, just some highlights, but know that everyday I had stories. The farm focuses on healthy local communities through sustainable agriculture & local self-sufficiency. Its set between Waialua & Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu. From the farm you can see the highest point of Oahu & the ocean its pretty much the best possible position. 5 minutes drive from Haleiwa, 15 minutes from Pipeline. I was stoked to call this home for 6 weeks.
I had just flown in from the Big Island, dead excited to be back on the North Shore after my last adventure there ‘Aloha Oahu! Sharks, Craters & the Magic Bus’. I walked to the farm from a couch surfing spot on another farm. I arrived with my backpack, threw it in the tent I was given & got straight to work. The tent i was given was beaten with tape holding it together but that meant character. I enjoy manual work & getting dirty is never a problem for me, so I enjoyed the work from the beginning. I was learning from the offset, everyone was willing to share their knowledge. The other WWOOFers & workers, soon to become ‘The Farmily’ were super welcoming & were clearly having a blast on the farm. Our days were filled with all kinds of different jobs from composting & planting to cooking & market days. I grew up on a farm in England, I just never had an interest in the mass production of sprayed crops but Mohala seemed to have a greater purpose, a message of healthy sustainable living, actually just doing good for the locals & their surroundings, something that I could feel whilst working.
We started work at 6.30am everyday & began it with a sun circle, the best part of my day. It involved a chant called ‘E Ho Mai’ followed by some yoga, such a perfect start to any-day rain or shine. I would work as often as possible barefoot, I knew how good this is for you but also knew it would build a connection with the earth, it does mean you end up with dusty red farm feet though & giant centipedes can creep up on you. As we were communal living one of us would always cook breakfast & dinner as well as cleaning & taking care of the animals. I love cooking anyhow but using as many ingredients from the farm as possible really made it special. Our day would stop 12 till 3pm at which point we would rush down to the ocean to swim, Waialua Bakery for smoothies or go catch some surf along the north shore.
The owner of the farm, Mark, could well be one of the most kind-hearted, easy-going people I’ve met on my travels. Sharing his property, cars, trucks, surf boards with us seemed natural to him. A sweet lady named Kathy was also pretty important to the farm, I’ve never known someone of her age to be so active either. Both were a wealth of knowledge, but knew how to hang-out & relax with us . A couple other helpers included a guy named Earl, who was so handy, he had carved his own surf fins from wood. Then there was Ron, that guy is so laid back he was almost laying down, but really cool to talk to, many stories to share & always able to have fun. He would bring presents to the farm for us, one time I grabbed a green t-shirt which I’ve become quite attached to it & still wear it, dirt stains an all.
The other guys on the farm were awesome, although they’re ever-changing on the farm it seems to attract interesting, laid back humans. The first weekend I was there we took a trip to the west side of the island for camping under the stars & the chance to swim with dolphins. We hung out at Makua beach all night, good music, good friends & beautiful surroundings. The morning after was maybe the best morning ive ever had, we woke up early on the beach to see the dolphins cresting the water, so we strapped on our snorkels & rushed out into the ocean. We were there on our own, just 7 of us swimming in crystal waters with dolphins in their natural habitat, a moment in time I can’t forget. They would swim so close to us like we were in harmony, like they knew we were good spirits. I mean they do say the best things in life are free right?
We always hung out together as often as possible, going on little road trips around the island. We would spend days on the beaches practicing yoga & messing around in the shore breaks, hiking through the forests & up to pill boxes. Theres so many hikes on the islands, so get out there exploring, there’s no excuse. Its pretty strange how quickly I grew to feel at home. Days off I would always try to get an early skate in at Banzai park, man there’s some talented kids there. I got asked by one to tighten his helmet for him, which was surreal considering he was ripping indies out of the quarters moments before.
Theres almost always something fun going off on the North Shore, whether its parties, surfing comps, good food, yoga or beach hangouts. As im not a heavy drinker i only went to a couple of parties. One was at Big Wave Dave’s in Honolulu to watch a Hawaiian treasure Mike Love play. That’s a must go to concert, for talent & for great reggae. Another was a RVCA party at their surf house, it felt like the whole of the area had turned up. Bands were playing including Landon McNamara whose music is definitely worth checking out. I also was at one point standing next to Jamie O’brien who is a true hero to me. I have no idea how I was in that situation, but there’s a name drop for you anyhow.
I attended all 3 surf comps in the Triple Crown contest. Just watching pros owning waves is great to witness even if you don’t surf. A highlight was watching Kelly Slater catch barrels at pipeline, hows that for motivation. Through the uncountable surf sessions one really stuck with me, a sunset session at Chun’s Reef with my friend Ben, it was packed but the atmosphere was unforgettable, deep purple sunset & great community spirit out there on that evening.
Whilst I was on the farm I got to be a part of my first thanksgiving. We built a traditional Imu, where we cooked, a whole turkey, pork & Ulu (breadfruit) underground. It was so awesome to gather everyone on the farm together including some friends & totally worth scooping cockroaches out of the pit before cooking. We had all made one part of the meal, I made mash. Before I left Christmas was approaching so festivities naturally began. As it got loser we went to watch the christmas parade through Haleiwa, typical North Shore trucks & buses cruise through town, this is when I first noticed that Santa’s in Hawaii wear shorts & slippers which is so stereotypical but perfect.
Mohala definitely made a positive change to my life. I’m far more conscious of what im eating although i already was healthy. Also its real important to support local communities wherever you are in the world. It’ll take the small changes to collectively make the big ones happen. My thought is that in a world where we import goods more than use locally sourced we have to make personal changes yes its tough & possibly more expensive but just adding one locally sourced item every time you shop somewhere you will have contributed. Im not telling people to go out there & be completely GMO free & to eat no sugar, thats an extreme example & truthfully there are very few who can accomplish such a lifestyle. I mean don’t tell me you won’t eat the skin of an apple but you’ll happily chow down on a bag of m&m’s?! No i’m just making the point that we can support better.
As I started to write this blog I realised how much I had done in this time at Mohala farm, I guess you’ll have to experience this for yourself to get a real idea of the fun to be had on the North Shore & the knowledge to be learnt on the farm. It was my first experience of WWOOFing & I do wonder if it’s ruined all other projects for me as it was just so good, to all the guys on the farm I hope we cross paths again. This is my last blog about my time in Hawaii, I have plans to head back at some point. I love the community spirit over there. The islands had even bought back my creativity & I even started drawing again. I had never felt healthier, leaving was definitely a tough one. Hawaii if I had a mic I’d drop it. Thanks for the endless fun, sunsets, rainbows & waves. Shoots man.
To find out more information on Mohala Farm & what they’re all about check out these links…
Social & Photos: Mohala Farms
If your looking for a run down & pretty comprehensive list of what you could be doing in Hawaii go visit RV Lifestyles Blog:
The list is very diverse & whether your an intrepid explorer or just looking to cruise the islands there’s something here for you. Much Aloha!