Hawaii, specifically snorkeling in Hawaii, was my goal for taking swimming lessons (that, and not drowning). Two months before my vacation, I couldn’t swim. Two weeks before my vacation, I could technically swim; or, as I liked to say, I took a lot longer to drown. However, I succeeded! By success I meant that when I got to Hawaii, I wasn’t afraid to go into the water up to my neck even when the lifeguard kept calling out when a strong wave would break over the barrier and be coming towards us. I put that rented snorkelling gear on and dunked my head into the water. Yay! What was even MORE fun was that I actually saw fish!!!! I saw so many fish, I had to get a book. The one I really remember that day was the bright yellow one and the black ninja one. The 4 months of very expensive swimming lessons in a cold condo swimming pool pushing little kids (and the occasional adult) out of the way was totally worth it.
Snorkeling, for those of you who haven’t tried it, is like going on safari with wild animals who are less likely to bite and eat you. If you haven’t gone on safari, it’s like being in a zoo without cages while flying. Not everyone loves it. When I went night snorkeling with the manta rays, I met 2 people who were very uncomfortable with knowing exactly what was under them. But the combination of fish body shapes, colours, behaviours and species is astounding!
The “don’t drowning” part came into play as I recognized my limits. You don’t actually have to know how to swim to snorkel – because when snorkelliing, you just float. You can even use the floating noodles if you like. So as I merrily floated and paddled my way out to where there were actual coral (and therefore, more types of fish), I didn’t realise that there was still loads of effort involved and even if you could breathe while under water, it was still possible to run out of breath! At that point, I turned back and saved the lifeguard a trip out to get me.
- don’t feed the fish (for a whole load of reasons, but mainly because they are WILD animals)
- don’t stand on the coral (we’ve killed enough by now, don’t you think?)
The photos below were taken by my Uncle R who needs a much better underwater camera