Hayden O’Neill‘s upcoming show, Lost Paradise, A Photographic Journey Through Micronesia consists of 21 works plus a zine and a photobook depicting his 2-month trek through the islands.
A thirst for travel, the unknown and perfect waves saw me head solo into the depths of Micronesia earlier this year. Posting up for two months was always going to be interesting. Chasing swells, dodging massive clean-up sets and the craziest of reefs saw me in the heart of one of the worlds most beautiful waves, Palikir -Pass, Pohnpei. Micronesia is the sort of place that takes a full draining 24 hours to get to from Melbourne. Four flights and the airport hussle were well worth it. If things went wrong, the local hospital wasn’t the sort of place you wanted to end up. I saw one guy get medi-vacted out after getting a piece of reef inserted in the one spot you don’t want to know about. But back to the swells, they had everyone on edge. Scurried checks of charts and winds were only the beginning. Big wave chargers would fly in from all corners of the world for very carefully and well-timed strike missions. The excitement the night before was like no other but then to awaken to big blue barrels was something else. Some of the craziest sessions actually went down amongst these swells. The most memorable day was in the first week of the trip where it was five people from our camp in the water trading six-foot dreamy barrels hours on end. Sunburnt and thirsty, there was no way I was leaving the water. Over the stint of two months, I only found myself cooped up in my room for five days. There was always something to do, whether it was chasing Marlin, diving reefs or hanging out around town. I was never bored! Swimming amongst blue lagoons and tropical reefs was out of this world. There’s something about Micronesia that is so different to anywhere else I’ve ever been. Truly a dream trip.