Friday, October 12

Day 278 — Hanauma Bay

[for Friday, Oct. 5]


Snorkeling is harder than it looks. You look at people in their silly masks and think, How hard could it be? Breathe out of a tube, kick your legs, and enjoy the underwater life as it swirls and churns around you.

Well, you're an idiot.

That tube you're breathing out of is about as airy as an asthmatic's clenching windpipe. That mask on your face is going to leak saltwater into your eyes and up your nose. It will fog up so that you can't see anything but a grey film fueled by self-loathing right before your eyes. And you are going to fall down at least five times while trying to navigated a two-foot swatch of beach in your stupid flippers.

Make it into the water (allow yourself a triumphant fist pump!) and then get horizontal: your ass belongs up in the air, your face belongs plunged below the murky surface of the water, and your arms and legs can flail at will. Remember all the warnings you received up until this point: DO NOT TOUCH THE CORAL. IT WILL DIE. THE EARTH WILL WEEP, AND THEN SHRIVEL UP AND STOP ITS ROTATION AND WE'LL ALL BE FORCED TO MOVE TO MARS.

No pressure. But seriously, don't touch the fucking coral.

Sadly, all I did all day long was touch the fucking coral. I probably killed hundreds of colonies, using just my knees, which are now certified as deadly weapons and must be kept beneath black bandannas at all times.

I'm not, shall we say, a graceful swimmer. So it was a bit of a challenge to keep afloat while breathing through a tube while keeping water out of my mask (I must have a freakishly small head) while not banging my knees and flippers on the coral while keeping my snorkel partner in my sights at all times while not drowning.

My first attempt was pretty much a bust. I saw three fish -- two little convict fish and something quite large. As I slogged back to the shore, I lost a flipper. Luckily, Courtney found it for me and saved me the $7 or so it would have probably cost to replace it. My second attempt was even scarier than the first. I tightened my mask and went further out, yet saw but one puny fish trying to hide from me. My snorkel partners told me they saw eels and big fish and giant craters and all sorts of neat shit. All I could see what my pitiful life flashing before my eyes. I dog-paddled back to the shore, threw down my gear in an impotent gesture of disappointment with myself, and thanked Zeus for dry land and cameras with which to photograph the aggressive birds trying to steal our food.

All that said, it was great fun and I'd totally do it again.

Next time I'm opting for a floater, though.

Project 365

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Anonymous shauna said...

I have a scar on my finger from being bitten by a fish snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. We fed them frozen peas.

Your Hawaii photos and stories have me longing to go back, and soon.

Sat Oct 13, 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger Short and Fat said...

I swam around the reef once, then I couldn't find my way back.

Out of frustration I thought there was just enough water to go over the reef so I did.

Every wave that passed laid me down on top of the coral. I waited for the next wave, kicked furiously, then laid down like a beached whale, killing some more coral.

It took forever to get back and was quite humiliating, leaving me bloodied, bruised, and humbled.

On the other hand, I missed touching a sea turtle's shell by less than a couple of feet.

Sat Oct 13, 11:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Jerm said...

I love your pictures. Vivid, colorful, great content. Make me feel like I'm right there.

Sun Oct 14, 01:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Lesley said...

I scraped my toe on coral once in Aruba and got out immediately (the swells were large and unpredictable). Fortunately, the water was so clear and the fish so large and colorful, that I could see just as well from the pier. It suited me just fine. If I could remember where that was, I'd recommend it. Shouldn't be too hard to find; Aruba's not that big.

Sun Oct 14, 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger theogeo said...

Shauna, that's awesome. I mean, not that you got bitten, but that you even got close enough to a fish to get bitten. Nice idea with the frozen peas! Next time I'll take bait.

S&F, I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt like an ass after snorkeling. My knees are still bruised.

Jerm, thanks!

Lesley, ooooh, Aruba. I've heard good things. And then of course there's that idiotic song. But I'd surely like to visit anyway.

Mon Oct 15, 12:06:00 AM  

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