The experience was so overwhelmingly beautiful that I can’t even remember what my expectations had been before I put on my fins and goggles. I think I imagined it would be something like going to a wild animal park, just under water. I thought it would all be about observing – serene, new, educational.
And it was, in fact, all those things. But with a thrill. A thrill I still feel in every molecule of my body – a sensation of freedom and connectedness – a rush of being lost in the infinity of the ocean, the close-to-ultrasonic chatter of dolphins, the hundreds of shades of green, blue, red and pink of the coral, the haunting familiarity of whale songs.
My first snorkeling adventure took place in Maui. I almost feel guilty about saying this. Well, of course you had a fantastic time in Hawaii, stop boasting about your fancy vacation. But I won’t stop. Yes, Hawaii is amazing. I was on vacation, not a single worrisome thought on my mind, no responsibilities, nothing to distract from the allure of the scenery.
Snorkeling was something else though. An adventure I would (and will) seek out whenever I can. Here’s how it all went: we met on the wharf at 7 am. Early, early. Myself, my pale-skinned, as-it-turns-out-naturally-talented-diver boyfriend who’s the only person strolling down the beach in a bowler hat, Captain Steve’s crew, and eight others choosing to spend the day on the water.
We started with breakfast – donuts, fruit and granola bars, then got fitted for our fins, removed our shoes and got on board. The first hour and half involved a lot of whale watching and taking ridiculously bad pictures. The experience of whale watching is enough for a whole other article, so I’m just going to say that it was life changing and leave it at that.
I always thought that snorkeling – unlike diving – is done really close to the shore. Well, it’s not. The crew dropped the anchor about a mile and a half off-land and announced “okay, we’re here.” What do you mean, I thought, we are just going to jump in the water here and swim around? Here? Far away from everything and everyone? We were. We spent a few minutes learning how to breathe through a snorkel, then geared up and jumped.
You know how first moments never come back, how they spin your whole world around in a second without even letting you take a breath? Well, I couldn’t. Literally, I couldn’t take a breath. I was struck by the sight of a yellow fish with black stripes and a black one with a red stripe, and a cerulean blue with a sparkly emerald sheen, and… and… and…
The next 45 minutes were enough to have been born for. I mean, if I hadn’t seen anything else amazing in life this would’ve been enough. Now I just have to learn how to dive.
It was incredible to watch Daniel (the above-mentioned bowler hat gentleman) to swim down and touch the sand, but it was frustrating not to be able to do it myself. It seemed so easy… but every time I tried I just kept floating.
So, time to look for a diving instructor. In the meantime, I’ll just try to be okay with the fact that my life takes place on the ground. Missing those waves somethin’ awful. Back in the water, soon. I hope.