Our third day in Maui was snorkel day! We woke up early, had a good breakfast, took some dramamine and started out on our walk. We decided to walk to the place where we were supposed to meet the boat...catamaran (the Teralani 2) to start our excursion instead of drive. The hotels are all along the shore and there is one long, winding sidewalk that takes you from place to place. The walk was only 15 minutes and early in the morning, Maui is cool enough that you don't even break a sweat. The meeting spot was on the beach and we found it with no trouble. We were with a group of about 20 other people, were told the rules (including "don't forget to breathe!), and that we were going to have a fun day! Then we had to get on the boat- easier said than done! The boat is at the mercy of the ocean and therefore the waves. The natives told us that waves come in sets of seven. I have never in my life counted waves or thought that there was a rhythm to it, but lo and behold, the sea consistently churned up seven waves at a time. We had to wait to get on the boat until each set of waves passed because the waves carried the boat in- and out- fast and hard. Once on the boat, there were more rules explained (like, "don't forget to breathe!) and we headed out to our first stop!
When we were in Hawaii, it rained two times. It rained in Honolulu during our trip to the Polynesian Cultural Center and on our snorkel day. And by rain, I mean it was mostly cloudy and rained for about 10 minutes. We had such a wonderful time, but if anything could have made it any better it would have been all sun! Those of you who know me know I am not an ocean girl. I love the beach, but I am petrified of the ocean. The captain of our boat kept calling the water "sharky"- as in, "The clouds are making the water murky and hard to see through- perfect for sharks." Joy!
But I wasn't going to go all the way to Hawaii and skimp out on snorkeling just because it was "sharky"- it was a new adventure after all! So I threw up my shaka sign to show I was in it for the long haul!
David was more than excited! I think of all the things we decided to do in Hawaii, this one was close to the top of his list.
They had gear on the boat we could use and they got us squared away with the correct sizes, showed us how to keep our goggles from fogging up, and helped boost our confidence, ha! The staff was incredible. They were so knowledgeable and kind and really made us feel welcome. They even took a picture of us before we hit the water:
You can see the clouds in the sky! Because Maui is mountainous, there are always rain clouds rolling off the mountains towards the beaches. Most of the time, the rain doesn't make it to the beach, but occasionally it does. I think we look quite dashing in our gear...haha!
When we got in the water I seriously thought I was going to hyperventilate! The rule, "don't forget to breathe" popped into my head and I realized why they had been harping on it so much! I was not expecting the pressure of the ocean water to be so strong against my lungs. It took a few minutes to get used to, but a few deep, slow breaths got me through. ;) Of course I was constantly on the lookout for anything that could harm me, but I finally loosened up a bit and had some fun. We had a wonderful guide who stuck with us a lot of the time we were in the water and he showed us some of the coolest creatures.
This was a fuzzy brown sea urchin. Excuse my large thigh--I was still trying to figure out how to best stay under the water, haha!
David got to hold this beautiful red sea urchin. And it peed on him. Well, we aren't sure if it peed but it definitely excreted something while he was holding it!
We also took pictures of lots of brilliantly colored fish like this one:
We have so many so be glad I only chose one fish, haha! :)
I started feeling a little more comfortable so our guide was able to talk me into swimming a little farther away from the catamaran. I have no idea what I was thinking, ha! The coral started getting farther and farther below us, there was a shelf of ocean floor below us and then a complete drop off, like a cliff under water. But we saw a see-through eel (try taking a picture of that!) and ran into this beauty:
That's right! A sea turtle! He was young and lazy, didn't want his picture taken, but stayed still long enough to let us get a picture :) That was pretty cool to see! The sea turtles apparently like the deeper waters so we had to go out farther in order to see them.
Our guide was kind enough to take our picture all the way out in the big, blue sea- far, far away from the catamaran. So nice of him!
And just when I was feeling nice and comfortable, our guide started laughing while he was taking our picture. "What?" we asked with our eyes and shrugging our shoulders. And he pointed behind us and as we turned around we saw this HUGE spotted eagle sting ray! I so wish the sun had been out and the water had been clearer so we could have gotten a clearer picture of this gorgeous sea creature, but this is the best we could do. She was magnificent and just cut through the water. Our guide said that the rays hardly ever show themselves. We were lucky to see her!
And then I was done. I had braved the ocean long enough and being so far out with such huge creatures that I had no idea were swimming around me-- I saw all that I wanted to see thank you very much! I made my way back to the catamaran just in time for lunch to be served!
As we ate lunch, the sun came out and David and I headed out to sit on top of the catamaran with another couple we made friends with. They were probably in their 40's, she works at a ski resort and he was the president of his own video technology company. We had a great time talking and getting to know each other so before we got off the catamaran they asked if they could buy the newlyweds a drink. Of course, we obliged. :) The guy grew up coming to Maui so we knew some great spots right on the beach where we unloaded from the snorkel trip.
As we got off the catamaran, we had to be just as careful getting off as we did getting on...and as I stepped off the last step, a wave came and smashed the stairs into the back of my foot! Oh my word, it hurt like nobody's business! I ended up with a nasty bruise on the back of my foot that was still there when I got home!
Our one drink turned in to 4 hours worth of sitting around talking, relaxing, and having fun. That's one of the wonderful things about Maui, time slips away and it's okay.
We stayed so long, the sun started to set. We ended up taking pictures at the most popular picture spot in Maui. It was absolutely beautiful.
And then we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. Dinner was at one of the hotel restaurants- Japengo- and we had a little problem:
My husband had a little too much to drink :) This his how he looked the whole way back to the hotel. The walk that took us 15 minutes at the beginning of the day ended up being about 30. We got back to the hotel and I hopped in the shower with about 30 minutes to spare before dinner (luckily we didn't have to leave the hotel!) and he was fast asleep when I got finished getting ready. There was no waking that boy up! So, I went ahead and went to dinner! I had a wonderful salmon and rice dish with edamame. Everyone was so nice to me because I was on my honeymoon and eating by myself, haha!
When I got back to the room, I got ready for bed and was on my way to sleep when he woke up and said, "are you ready for dinner?" WHAT?!! I told him I had already gone and he slept through it and he said, "Oh, ok. Well I'm gonna go to dinner, do you want to go?" "No honey, I think I'll just stay here." Hahaha! I couldn't believe it at the time but it is such a funny story to look back on now! So needless to say, we don't have before-dinner pictures from this night! ;)
PS: David and I found out about a month ago that the couple we met in Maui and spent the afternoon with had ended their relationship amicably. We were sad to hear, but glad we were all in the right place at the right time and shared some fun times together!