This is his story.
By M the Writer
Adrian Wong traded in a monkey suit for a wetsuit in 2016.
How far would you go to put what you love most at the axis of your life? For Adrian, it meant moving to Japan, where he teaches English and spends the better part of his days underwater off the Miura Peninsula, spear in hand, waiting for that one perfect shot. World class spearfishing destinations like Okinawa, Taiwan, or Fiji’s crystal clear waters are just a plane ticket away. But, like anyone that is living their passion, things weren’t always this way.
The obsession started when his Australian college roommate brought some fresh fish back to the dorm. Adrian’s curiosity was piqued, and pretty soon he was blowing off lectures to go spearfishing at La Perouse’s Bear Island, down the road from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Despite poor attendance, and turning up to the classes he did make in soggy board shorts, he graduated in 2013 with a degree in finance, and a very informal minor in the art of Aussie spearfishing.
Back in London, (he grew up in Wales), Adrian found himself marooned at a desk job in the financial district, nostalgic for the underwater world. The closest body of water was the polluted Thames river, home to questionable aquatic life at best, and perhaps a few dead bodies at worst. Naturally, this situation called for drastic measures. A true weekend warrior, Adrian made a habit of jumping a plane to Norway on Friday to spearfish. He’d cart his gear and guns to the office, turning up last minute Monday morning to his job as a commodities analyst, fresh off the plane and still a bit salty.
Norway is a special place - a wild place, and world apart from the London financial district. Adrian would rent a car and drive along the coast, stopping to pitch a tent wherever he felt like. Where Fjords meet the Norwegian Sea, giant halibut and cod waited for the taking in surprisingly clear, brackish water. The mix of fresh and salt water made for easy diving with little weight. On one memorable trip, he shot a cod, but was on a tight schedule to head back to the airport. So he stopped in an English pub with his catch, and the kitchen promptly cooked up the best fish and chips of his life.
After taking a month long trip to Fiji in 2016 where he dove and spearfished everyday, Adrian knew something needed to change. When his girlfriend began studying abroad in Japan, he saw an opportunity to make a shift, and he did. He landed in Tokyo unable to speak a word of Japanese, and with an agreement to ‘work by remote’ from his commodities job in London. The only thing was, they thought he was in Wales, not Japan. For months, he worked 5pm to 2am, faking European time, until he found work as an English teacher. Teaching English turns out to be the perfect side gig for a globetrotting spearfisherman, with about 10 days off per month, and half day hours.
In Japan, spearguns are not permitted. Adrian says that having to learn to use a pole spear brought his diving to the next level. He had to stay under longer and get closer to fish, dialing in his underwater stealth ninja skills. This made travel to locations where he could use his gun - a custom made by renowned Hawaii-based craftsman Daryl Wong, even sweeter. Adrian’s approach is a bit different too. He’s more of an artist than a sportsman, preferring to wait for that perfect fish, only taking what he can eat for one truly excellent meal.
So, where does he want to go next? Fishes, consider yourselves warned. His bucket list includes Tonga, Ascension Island, and Hawaii. To date, he’s been in the better half of the seven seas - the Arctic, the Atlantic, the South Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean, and something tells me he’ll soon be dipping his toes in the rest.
“The second I jump in the water, I forget the outside world,” says Adrian.
“It’s the ultimate escape. I think that’s what I love about it most.”
Follow Adrian’s adventures, and the misfortunes of tasty fishes on Instagram @adrian.wong_.
M the Writer
Is a content writer based in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. She uses the power of words to help entrepreneurs reach their dream clients by telling their story in a creative way. She offers content writing for websites, landing pages, blog posts, as well as editing and proofreading services. She loves working with people in Hawaii and around the world. Need help telling your story? Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.