I am an Octopussy.

4 Apr
Hanauma Bay... not too shabby!

Hanauma Bay… not too shabby! (And I actually took this photo!)

Somehow, I made it 40 years without ever snorkeling. I’m not sure how that happened – especially since I’ve probably logged more miles in a pool in the last five years than most adults will swim in their entire lives. (Note the humble brag… that’s how it’s done, folks!)

We set out to remedy this by heading to Hanauma Bay at dawn on Thursday. We’d been warned that it is a popular spot and can get a bit crowded in the afternoon, so we rolled out of bed and zipped over there as soon as we were up. Fortunately, it’s only about nine minutes from where we’re staying, so that part was easy.

What wasn’t easy was my initial attempt at snorkeling. I hated everything about it: my flippers filled with sand (which felt horrible on my sunburned feet), the mask makes it impossible to breathe through your nose (which is generally how I breathe when swimming) and I’m a bit wimpy about things that live in oceans, so as soon as I stuck my face in the water and saw everything I could potentially step on, I had a mild freak out, during which I ripped off my mask, told Alan I hated snorkeling, and stomped to the shore.

Definitely not one of my finer moments.

In my defense: It didn’t help that the conservation/orientation video we’d just watched upon admission had featured a mean-looking eel striking out from a hole in the coral, so every time I stuck my face underwater, I imagined eels lurking in every nook and cranny, bracing for attack.

Back on shore, I gave myself a stern talking to. It sounded like this:

Get your ass back in that water. This might be your only chance to see a legit coral reef. You can’t leave here without seeing that – you’ll kick yourself.

So while Alan was swimming around looking at things, I went down to a different part of the beach that was a bit deeper and made a second attempt. This time, it was fine. And almost immediately, I saw some of the most colorful fish I could imagine, so I was immediately mesmerized.

An hour later, initial trauma forgotten, we were on our way to visit Shark’s Cove (up on the North Shore) for more snorkeling with our friends.

Borrowed from HawaiiTripper.comI’m glad I started my snorkeling adventure at Hanauma Bay where it was fairly shallow, because Shark’s Cove was rocky and fairly deep (around 20 feet in most places). Also? It was AMAZING.

The water was so clear that with the sun overhead, it was like snorkeling in an enormous fish tank. We saw all kinds of fish – and found ourselves wrapped in a school of hundreds of sparkly silver fish that moved like a wave around us.

And despite the name (which had prompted one of my friends to say, “Shark’s Cove? What could possibly go wrong?”), we didn’t see any sharks. Or eels. Or octupussies, to quote James Bond.

Turns out? I love snorkeling.

Next up: Confronting another fear – Hawaii by helicopter.

2 Responses to “I am an Octopussy.”

  1. thesinglecell April 24, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

    And you did not, even once, accidentally dive deeper than your snorkel would allow and get a lungful of water? Not that that happens…
    Glad you enjoyed it! Nothing like that kind of experience.

    • pithypants April 25, 2015 at 6:07 am #

      The salt water made me so buoyant, it was like I had magical floating powers.

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