Celebrate Your Life – Experience the World
By J. “Kat” Loren : :
It’s a typical Maui day for a tourist like me. I drive down the hill from my condo towards my designated beach as the sun gains strength, take a walk, snorkel, and hang out for a while with the honu’s – the green sea turtles that delight us all.
The best snorkling beaches from Maui’s Makena Landing’s wonderful coral reef located a stone’s throw from the Grand Wailea in south Maui to the more popular Kamaole beaches off north Kihei lure many tourists into the warm winter sea. I explore them all over two weeks in paradise, and by day 3, I feel as relaxed as a honu moving slowly, reluctant to haul my body back onto the land of reality once vacation ends.
Today, I drop my beach chair and towel under a palm tree on the grassy lawn of the Mana Kai Maui Resort at the edge of downtown Kihei, walk a few steps to the sand and stroll along the long stretch of Keawakapu Beach. Warmed up for the day, I don mask and snorkel and slip into the sea with my GoPro. The wind is picking up from the north and I know that I have only a little time to view this spectacularly preserved little reef before the sand obscures my visibility.
Vibrant pencil urchins perch on coral. An elegant black, white and yellow striped Moorish Idol tailing its wispy top fins past. Then I spy a Blue-Spine Unicornfish with its goofy unicorn protruding swimming across the reef intercepted by a Black Durgon with tuxedo white stripes fanning through the water sideways.
Butterfly fish in vibrant yellow, stripes and spots painted on by a Master Artist catch my eye until a long, trumpet fish heralds the arrival of a giant turtle swimming lazily towards my camera, cutting in for a photo bomb.
It seems just as curious about me and despite my effort to stay at arms length, it swims right into my face as if saying, “Take a picture of me, too!”
We swim together for quite awhile that morning. That evening before sunset, I drop in at Makena Landing and there another honu waits for me. And as I try to follow the turtle my camera breaks the surface and in that moment I understand what a honu sees both underwater and as it surfaces for air – the flamboyant shapes and colors of tropical fish, the bubbles in the water, the surface reflecting all the colors of sand and sky, the foam of breaking waves, the palm trees on shore, and best of all, the sunsets turning the sea to deep jade green beneath flaming skies.
J “Kat” Loren is a Pacific NW-based journalist and author of more than a dozen books. She currently focuses on writing health, fitness, and travel articles. Her blog “Crazi Culture” is a popular read among those who like eclectic topics and travelogues about odd places and adventures. http://www.craziculture.com
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