Having spent most of his childhood in Southern California with periodic visits to Hawaii, Grand #3 had grown up in water both snorkeling and, as he aged, scuba diving. These were activities with whom my husband and I were unfamiliar. But every time Grand #3 spoke about the amazing wonders he had seen on his many forays into the ocean, with eyes alight, a small part of me would catch his spark of enthusiasm and wonder if I would also enjoy the exploration of the world within an ocean.
Buoyed by his enthusiasm, I found myself embracing the upcoming snorkeling adventures on his North American Scholarship Trip to visit four Hawaiian Islands in 7 days. Our first snorkeling adventure began at a pick up stop near our hotel at the Royal Hawaiian in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. We joined others on the shuttle bus who delivered us to a 53’ Honi Olani catamaran off for our sail to Kahe Point. As the catamaran easily slipped out of its moored location and sliced through the lapis colored Pacific ocean it wasn’t too long before a school of dolphins joined the wake of the hulls to effortlessly glide through, up, and over the wake of the boat.
Excitedly, we all gained vantage points for photos of these dolphins enjoying their morning in the clear water. After a 45-minute cruise we reached our first of several stops where we would swim in the ocean and snorkel lava caves and funnels formed when molten lava flowed into the cooling ocean water. The lava funnels looked like large pipelines with open centers, allowing water, fish, sea turtles, and humans to easily move in and out of them. Sadly, the remainder of the day did not yield any major highlights and I was quickly beginning to realize, with some dismay, that good snorkeling would be almost as elusive as chasing the Northern Lights during Grand #1’s trip to Alaska.
Our next snorkeling adventure happened off the coast of Maui where we were periodically rewarded with schools of tropical fish darting here and there. By the end of this excursion I was beginning to get the hang of breathing and was getting comfortable paddling around in fins with a flotation device. Yes, the flotation device was a lazy man’s snorkeling but it allowed me the luxury of not worrying about remaining afloat in the water.
Our last snorkeling outing was a happy accident. We were on the island of Kauai and my husband had remembered a particularly nice resort, the Princeville Resort (soon to be 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay). After speaking with their reservations person we booked a day pass to their beach which would allow us to have lunch as well as rent snorkeling equipment and beach chairs with towels. After we selected our spot on the beach and got everything set up we ventured into the crystal clear waters of Hanalei Bay.
Within seconds I was met with a large school of stunningly beautiful tropical fish with one leading to another. I was mesmerized by the designs and colors as they dart in and out of coral. Grand #3 had just converted me! I was hooked on snorkeling, losing all sense of time as I moved from school to school and even among the fish. As I turned to head back to shore I thought I heard a scream underwater and when I raised my head Grand #3 was yelling, “There’s an eel!” As we raced back to shore, both of us deathly afraid of anything that looked like a snake, we collapsed on the beach laughing about his surprise and then terror which was quickly replaced with the joy of all that we had discovered in this sheltered bay.
Mary Beth I have a passion for creating and experiencing unforgettable moments and sharing those with others. I hope that this story has helped you experience one of those moments.