A little over a year ago, we embarked on the best tour Oahu has to offer (at least, from our experience with tours thus far): Circle Island Tour in 24 – headed and founded by Dan “The MAN” Scroggins. In our previous post about his tour company, we vowed to be ballsy enough to go on his actual 24-hour tour, eventually. This is a company that stands by its name. That day came on August 27, 2016. A tour for 24 (endless) hours, straight through. Literally, it is an entire day of exploring the aina (island). What more can you ask for in a tour?!
If you follow our Instagram (wanderlustyleblog), you would’ve seen a sample of how much we did via our InstaStory. It all started at 4AM. Dan picked me up (along with 3 others) and we headed off to our first stop: Makapuu Lighthouse Trail for sunrise. As you can tell from the pictures, it was already turning out to be a very eventful and beautiful day.
After the sunrise hike, we boarded Dan’s jeep to get breakfast. Being that Circle Island Tour in 24 is different than any other tour company on the island, of course, we didn’t head to a quick grab & go (fast-food) restaurant. We visited another amazing human being, Daniel Anthony. The self-proclaimed “Imutarian” is an activist who promotes living off the land, environmentally friendly/zero-waste living and going back to our ancient roots via advocating local farming. He is one of the most educated persons that I know on the subject of Ancient Hawaiin living and history. If you’re interested in learning more about what he does, watch his TEDx talk (link above, click on his name) or visit his non-profit organization website.
For those unfamiliar with Imus, this is how it looks in the end – basically, a natural crock-pot. Blankets are placed over our (banana leaf-wrapped) food (doesn’t really matter what type of food) and cooked via the ground firepit. Mr. Anthony stated that he has cooked just about anything (even a birthday cake) via his homemade Imu. The only drawback is you have to let it set for 10-12 hours. However, Daniel Anthony only has to cook once a week which supplies his entire family – can you say meal prep ancient Hawaiian style?
Before (tree blocking)
After (flowing river, no tree blocking)
Following the preparation of the Imu, we were invited by Daniel Anthony to one of his favorite spots – it’s a small swimming hole in a stream around his home. Out of respect for Daniel and his hospitality, the location will not be disclosed. The best chance you’ll get to see this spot is booking a tour with Dan or volunteering to help Mr. Anthony on his farm!
Lunch time? nope! It was only 11:15AM and we had somewhere to be: New Hope Canoe Club on Sand Island. It’s a free crash course in canoeing every Saturday headed by the church. It was great fun and the day couldn’t have been more beautiful. After a quick 15 minute “warm-up” we took a break and headed to Mokauea Island (the little land mass in front of the canoes in the above picture). While there, we learned about the continuous efforts of Anty Joni Bagood and her husband who maintain the island. They are the only ones legally allowed to live and upkeep the island, which is Hawaii’s last native fishing village. Organizations such as Save Our Surf and Kai Makana are pushing restoration and preservation endeavors. Another great human being doing amazing work for the local community in helping the traditional Hawaiian culture survive.
Now, it was time for lunch! Finally! No better thing to eat on a busy day than a poke bowl. Dan was proficient in keeping that full immersion of Hawaiian culture consistent throughout the tour. We ate at one of my favorite eateries, Pa’ina Café. I ate a large (as pictured above).
Lucky for us, Dan was driving. Although delicious and entirely worth it, eating a large poke bowl in any circumstance is not a great idea in hindsight. I was ready for a nice, long nap but, of course, this was not happening. So, I (and others) rested when I (we) could, during those short drives to our next destination. Unfortunately, this was not one of those long enough drives to get a quick shut eye. Our next stop was along the East/North Eastern Coast to a see ancient petroglyphs. Located before the famous Sandy’s Beach, it was a quick little walk off the main road and into a mini cave area. It was hard to identify the real petroglyphs due to the modern day graffiti from wannabe ancient Hawaiians.
The day was only halfway through and we were beat. Call us weak but after continuously messing with Dan about taking a nap, being the merciful tour guide he is, he took us to Waimanalo Beach Park (not pictured in this blog) to rest. We all knew he had other plans in store involving physical effort but we were happy to take it easy. Alas, it was only a 20-minute break and off we went! Back to Mr. Daniel Anthony to check on our Imu meal which would be our dinner.
The glorious Imu meal was no letdown. We headed to Sunset Beach to watch the sunset and eat the best Imu dish I’ve had. Other venturers ate Salmon and told me it was the best tasting Salmon they had. This Imutarian lifestyle is no joke – delicious food all week or more! Truthfully, I’m not a big fan of Hawaiian food but having it through these traditional methods has changed my opinion on the overall taste; as I write this, I’m craving some good ole Hawaiian food.
Well, after a very competitive sunset (vs the beautiful sunrise) night fell. Dan took us on an approximate 4-mile/6-kilometers trek starting in Kaena point and wrapped around to the West Side ending at Yokohama Beach. The Milkyway was breathtaking in the clear night sky. Starting around 8:30PM/20:30PM we ended around midnight from what I remember. The day still wasn’t over, yet. The next stop was Lower Makua Cave.
After a quick walk through the cave, we headed to our last destination: Morgan’s Corner. Dan definitely could begin a ghost/haunted tour if he wanted. Morgan’s Corner is a typical “lovers lane” chilling story but with some real history of a murder in the area. In our state of consciousness, we were freaked a bit. Complete dark, howling winds and Dan’s creepy video had done it for us. Thankfully, we called it a night shortly after and luckily, didn’t have to get out in the pitch dark area.
We were drained. We were dirty. We were exhausted.
Dan really out did himself. It can be very intimidating just knowing you will be on a 24-hour tour but he was more than willing to go at the customer’s pace. All of us participating knew he could have made us do much more, physically, but I’m extremely grateful for his awareness of our momentum. By the way, everything we did was a surprise. We didn’t know what was going to happen next or where we were going. Sometimes, he would say where we were headed but no specifics, which added another element of psychological endurance. I enjoyed that aspect.
I can’t thank Dan of Circle Island Tour in 24 enough. I’m privileged to have been a part of his first official 24-hr run. The name is concrete. The adventures are random. Dan is legitimate and the only question left is can YOU handle a 24-hr adventure?
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Circle Island Tour in 24
“The more miserable, the more memorable.”