So every couple of years my wife and I recognize that our veterinary practice needs a “shot in the arm”, so to speak, in order to revitalize and refresh our business plan and… to keep our heads from popping off our necks.
This “shot-in-the-arm” usually comes in the form of what we call an upper-level staff retreat. Now, since we are the only two upper level staff, that usually means we go somewhere where we can relax for a bit and have some long, uninterrupted discussions and planning sessions without the day to day pressures and busy-ness of our normal routine intruding.
Last week, we had the amazing blessing of holding our “retreat” on the island of Kauai.
I gotta tell you, if you want to get away from it all, and if you want to remove yourself from the busy-ness of urban life, Kauai is definitely the place to go. It ain’t called the Garden Isle for nothin’ – sure the end of our trip had a little drama in the form of a tsunami warning and evacuation to higher ground and all but…we were still in Kauai.
Needless to say we were able to squeeze in some serious relaxation time between planning, reviewing schedules and goal setting for our business. However, as I have mentioned frequently in previous articles, I am hardly the personality type to “relax” by sitting next to some pool sipping pretty looking drinks with miniature paper umbrellas in them.
Rather, we relaxed by hiking and kayaking and swimming in flowing rivers and snorkeling over reefs and standing on the edge of immense canyons and crawling over ancient lava fields and going into caves and walking along mostly deserted, endless sandy beaches and whale watching and eating mounds of white rice covered with spam and fried eggs followed by shave ice and fresh papaya and…well, you get the picture.
The one thing we did not do was fish.
Now, I debated long and hard with myself about bringing one of my fly rods with me because I knew that of all the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai is THE island for both freshwater and saltwater flyfishing.
I also knew that there is a guide service on Kauai (www.bonefishkauai.com) that will take you out onto the flats for some bonefish flyfishing, which is supposed to rival that of the Florida Keys.
I was also acutely aware that Kauai is jam packed with Bass holding waters. Not just largemouth Bass but Smallmouths and ferocious Peacock Bass which are found in the more than 160 ponds, reservoirs, and holding basins as well as in portions of the nine rivers of the island. I also knew that Tom Christy is the guy to guide you if you want to go Bass fishing on the island (www.sportfishhawaii.com) though he does not guide specifically for fly-fishing and does not provide fly gear.
Yeah, I knew all that and more.
What I did not know was that we would kayak up rivers where massive, fly-ignorant Tilapia were lined up like salmon getting ready to return to their home waters.
Nor did I expect to see schools of two-foot long mullet hovering beneath bridges attacking every leaf that fell into the brackish waters.
Likewise, I did not anticipate snorkeling with barracuda and nervous schools of Jacks mere yards from the hotel beach.
Neither did I guess how my jaw would drop in amazement and how tears would well up in the corner of my eyes when I turned the corner and discovered the quantity and variety of fishing gear filling the sporting goods aisle of the local Wal-mart where my wife was busy clearing out the souvenir section.
Yeah, I left the fly rod at home but I still had a fishin’ adventure. And you can bet that when we return to Kauai (and we will) I will have the fly rod and I will have the right assortment of flies and I will know where to go and how to fish that area and I will have made the proper contacts and…I will have a large wild Hawaiian double shave ice with ice cream and red beans to celebrate the peacock bass that I will catch and…well you get the picture.
I love this addiction called island flyfishin’.