Thursday, July 13, 2006

My Snorkeling Adventure

Ok so I am swaying from format of Paradise day count. Instead of giving you a day by day of happening, I am going to tell you my favorite stories from my trip. One of the activities Tiff and I had planned was to go snorkeling at Molokini and Turtle Town. Now I was torn between excitement and pure unadulterated fear. Excited to see the brightly colored fishes, scared out of my mind about being eaten by a scary big fish and the boat trip. See I am not what you would consider an experienced boat person. Ok fine, I am the one with the green face leaning over the side of the boat. But I was determined to overcome this with flying colors. We had to be at the marina at 6:30am in the morning, apparently fish are morning creatures, sadly I am not. Armed with Ginger Root pills and ginger ale, we lined up to get on the catamaran that would take us to fishy wonderland. While waiting in line to board the boat a photographer took pictures of the people boarding. Hmmm, me clutching my ginger ale and Tiff scowling b/c we didn’t have any coffee. I am thinking masterpiece, aren’t you? They shuffle you aboard after stealing your shoes (something about losing them while we are moving or something) and lucky Tiff and I were able to secure a sweet spot in the front of the boat. I am staring at the water accusingly, saying to it (in my head of course), “don’t you dare make me sick”. The ride is about 45 minutes to Molokini, which is a lip of a volcanic crater. The waters below were a marine sanctuary and the remaining land was a bird sanctuary. On the ride the guide is giving us tip and sign that we will need to know while snorkeling. He goes thru the common (or you would think) information, don’t walk on the boat with your fins, don’t touch the side of the crater its sharp. But my favorite was the hand signals, hand on top of head signaled everything was a okay, a waving hand doesn’t mean hey you come over here it means help I am in serious trouble. He also gave us signals to identify sharks. Making a little chomper hand was a small shark, giant arms to make a man eating shark (at this point I didn’t find any humor in that). Feeling well prepared to make my first venture in to the fish world, we pull up to the location of our first dive. And my first thought, pure relief. The odds of me getting bitten by a shark are small, there are too many other options in the water!!! Yes, I was home free. I couldn’t possibly look tasty to a shark, when there are like 200 people in the water.

Next step, disembark the boat. Now I wanted to do this at my own speed so I waited at the end of the line. Bad idea! First off, the people who got in the water before me, panicked and wanted to get back on the boat, were allowed to do so before I even got in the water for the first time. This isn’t painting a good picture for me, what scared them? Would I be the same? And, these people are wasting my precious snorkel time!! Finally, I get in the water equipped with mask, snorkel and fins. I was quite the sight. Time to view the fishies. Alright, head down in water and try not to panic, ok, so got the head down but the panic immediately set in. I started to hyperventilate!!! EEEEKKKKKK!! But I could breathe, albeit fast, but I could breathe. Now I just had to slow down. So with a little talking to, I was able to settle down and breathe like a normal human being. While all of this is happening by the way, poor Tiff is waiting oh so patiently for me to get my butt in gear.

Now that I could concentrate on what was happening beneath me, I was in awe. These delicate looking fish were darting below me in the most brilliant colors. Yellow ones and striped ones looked close enough for you to reach out at touch. They are though and I learned that the hard away. I was not meant to inhale water. Oh inconvenient! But I was still in a state of complete wonder. I kept reaching out to Tiff to grab her and show her a new fish I saw or something funny. Laughing with a snorkel in your mouth makes water leak in to your mask. Just so you know. There was so much to see and of course I wanted to see it all. However with the time I wasted trying to get in to the water, my time in the water was short but thrilling. Now I got to tread water while waiting to get back on the boat. Which by the way is actually kind of hard with the waves moving you around and other people trying to accomplish the same mission and bumping in to you while you wait. But we were able to get aboard safely with no major mishaps. Settled in to our original seats dripping wet and grinning like fools, we set out to Turtle Town which was about 45 minutes from Molokini, just off the shore of Maui. This time I wasn’t wasting any time in no stinking line- I was an experience snorkeler now ( HA!), I was going to jump of the side of the boat to get in the water and see those turtles. Safely ( I guess) in the water snorkel intact, mask on, Tiff and I went in search of the turtles. I really thought the turtles would stand out and that the area we were in would be swarming around. It was called Turtle Town for heaven’s sake, a town constitutes a good size population. Except one thing, the turtles blend in to the coral, like Tiff said, you are swimming along scanning the coral, saying in your head, hmm coral, rock, coral more rocks, oh wait!!! Nope rocks, dammit! Then as I was surfacing to get a little water out of my mask( I laughed again, thus the water) I heard a woman shout to the group that they had found a turtle. Instantly our group swarmed around the spot where the turtle was hanging out. Again with the awe and shock, sea turtles are HUGE!!! And he (or she) is lounging out on the coral, now I see why they are hard to final. Tricky little sea animals using their camouflage. Then he (or she) starts to swim up to get a breathe of air. And here comes this trail of people no more that inches away from the turtle trying to breath. And of course because the turtle is being followed, he decides not to breach the surface. Now the crew of the boat had, of course, gone thru instructions on what to do if you saw a turtle. The main rule was stay 5 feet or more away from the turtle, they have bacteria that can make humans very very sick. Stay Away, we can’t stress that enough. Though of course the minute the people got in the water, they completely forgot. Of course our time in the water was to short, I still wanted to hunt for more turtles ( in the non aggressive friendly sort of way). But our time at Turtle Town, population 2, was at a close and it was time to head back to the marina and time to have those $2 Mai Tais, anchors way!


At 1:52 PM, Blogger Tiffany said...

You did an awesome job!! I was very proud.

And thanks for leaving out the part where I oh-so-gracefully jumped off the side of the boat and lost, not only my snorkel and mask, but a fin too!

We make a great team! :D

At 1:30 PM, Blogger Retro Girl said...

Sounds like an incredible experience!! I'd love to learn to snorkel and to swim with sea creatures!! I'd love to have an underwater camera to photograph it all too....

Wow...Great post - thanks for sharing an amazing experience :-)


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