Tuesday, June 24, 2008

There's fish in the ocean!

Ok, I know that one seems pretty obvious and we all know there are fish in the ocean. But honestly that was my first thought when we went snorkeling at 7 Sunday morning. I had to laugh at myself because it was such a funny and obvious thing (*note - when snorkeling don't laugh; it breaks the seal on your mask). It was such an amazing experience. It was sometimes scary, too. Because we're beginners (and a little lazy) we opted to take boogie boards out with us. They give you something to float on and you don't have to use quite so much energy . It gave us the option to go out farther and stay out longer. Once you stick your face in the water (hard enough the first time anyway) you're hit with a sense of falling. As most people know, I'm afraid of heights. And the ocean is DEEP. Another obvious one I know. But really when you're out swimming or surfing or on a boat you aren't conciously thinking about how far you are from the bottom. When you're looking at the bottom it is a little different feeling. Anyone that is even a little nervous about heights understands what I mean. It's like being suspended over a building. Once I was able to relax and actually take in my surroundings it was like nothing I have ever experienced. There were fish everywhere and the reef was beautiful. The light was dancing through the water on the coral and the fish were darting in and out of the tiny crevaces. Now I know how the little diver guy in the fish tank feels! ;-) We stayed out until we were both to cold to take it anymore and headed back in. Of course one thing we hadn't realized until the second day (yeah, we're a little slow sometimes) is that by the time you're too cold to stay out there's still another 15 minutes or so to get back to shore to dry off and get in the car. But I think that has to be the best way ever to wake up. From that point on you're ready to not only face but to take on the day! (another side note - Doug was up at 5:30 and on the beach before 7 two mornings in a row... Without coffee.)

Sunday after breakfast we headed down to Kayak Kauai in Hanalei and rented a double kayak for the day. We paddled up the river as far as we could go (Doug wanted to go farther but I wasn't about to paddle into jungle that was obviously past where the guy that launched us said not to go) and then back around and out to the ocean. We stopped for lunch on a beach in the bay and the paddled out to the ocean. Getting bumped by the little waves while they crashed on the shore was fun. I think this is something we may start doing when we get home. We had so much fun! After about 4 hours we finally got in sync with each other and were paddeling back at a pretty good clip. And I had figured out how to watch for the little currents in the river that would pull us one way or the other making it a little harder to go. We got back to Kayak Kauai about 5 hours after we left. It was a great time. We were both a little sunburned in odd spots (the inside of my left knee and right ankle and Doug's ankles were burned) from missing spots with the sunscreen and we were hot but it was a fantastic time. I know we are both looking forward to doing it again.

The highlight of our trip so far was to Queen's Bath. It's located at the edge of Princeville, a very ritzy resort town full of estate homes, posh vacation rentals, perfectly manicured palm trees and ocean views. Queen's Bath has gained so much popularity over the years that they put in a little parking area to keep the tourists off the lawns. Because we had gotten a "late" start (it was almost 11 by the time we got there) the parking lot was full. Because of my impatience we almost missed this magnificent spot. At Doug's insistance we waited in the parking lot for someone to come out and took their spot. It was worth all 10 minutes we waited! ;-)

We hiked down the trail and almost right away came to a little waterfall with a shallow pool. I decided to get a better picture we needed to climb down and get closer so I could get pictures! And then I made Doug climb down and take pictures with me. Climbing back out was a little more difficult! The trail isn't exactly level or wide and we had to stop more than once to let other people pass. But at the end the view was absolutely breathtaking. I don't know that I've ever seen a more stunning vista. Once we finallly got to the edge we were treated to our first real set of falls. About a 70 foot drop into a small cove. I really wanted to climb down and really get into them but Doug's more logical and sensible than I am and reminded me that perhaps flip-flops and preggo were not the best ways to go climbing into a not entirely stable cove to play in the waterfall.

We did climb all over the rocks. My fear of heights and typical aversion to ledges and high places was temporarily susupended by my apparent adventerous side (yeah I didn't know I had one either ) and desire to get a great picture. It did pay off in a big way for us though. There was a spot where I climbed down and looked out over the edge to watch the waves crash and saw about 15 giant sea turtles. They were HUGE! I'm pretty sure they were bigger than my first apartment. They were swimming around and getting tossed by the massive currents and waves that were flowing into the little cove. It was so amazing to sit and watch. It wasn't easy to get pictures of them since they would only surface for a moment and then get tossed back under. It was definitely a testiment to the unpredictability of nature. While the waves crashed and tossed them about they continued to move that seemed, to me, a fluid calm. No matter the strength of the wave they continuted on with grace and beauty. It was beautiful to watch.

When we finally got over to the pool that is Queen's Bath we decided not to clammer down into it and take a swim. It was slightly crowded. Easy to do with it being a small pool in the lava rocks to begin with. I was surprised to find the pool populated by not only tourists but locals out for a swim. There was a group of boys out testing each other's bravado by jumping from the ledge into the pool some 35 feet or so below! No matter how brave I was feeling that day I don't think I could have made that jump!

The hike back out was exhausting! We took it at a fairly fast clip as I wasn't sure if I lost the momentum that Doug wouldn't be carrying me out. We were both breathless and sweating by the time we reached the parking lot again. I don't feel bad since it was by no means an easy hike for someone in much better shape than we are. And it did feel good to get the blood flowing.

I guess I should get going. Doug is waiting patiently to hit the beach. No adventures today. Just the morning on the beach listening to the waves crash and reading a book. Time to relax a bit. We're heading to a luau tonight. I'll try to update more in a day or so!


No comments: