My new vacation rule #1 is: When the sunscreen stops burning your eyes, it’s time to reapply.
Two members of our merry 9 person birthday band have been taken out of commission with a heat rash and a nasty burn. Thus, my new rule. It seems to be working thus far. I have only a mild… nothing since I’m a redhead and don’t tan (notice the pasty whiteness in the photo above? After 12 straight hours in the sun, I still look like that. I blame my parents for this genetic tanning-deficient oversight).
Today was positively magical. Last night, we fed everyone on $17 of fresh fish, yummy salad and homemade garlic stuff (warning, if you see me on the street, I would refrain from air kissing me or for that matter, standing within 10 feet of me. My breath should be considered a deadly weapon after that fresh garlic dip). The delightful thing about being on an island (besides the incessant tsunami warnings) is the plentiful, fresh and economical fish. If I wasn’t eating so many chips, this would be a great weight loss camp.
This morning, I made it up and out of bed before everyone except the Ironman triathlete trainer (seriously, the man ran 12 miles yesterday and swam 1.5 miles in the ocean today. We are all underachieving blobs next to him) and headed off on a big scuba diving adventure. Normally, I’m not a fan of scuba diving alone. Mostly because when you don’t have a “buddy” who loves you watching out for you (preferably one without a life insurance policy on you), it’s less likely that you’ll make it back in one piece. But, scuba diving is the only place where my brain turns off and turns to a jello mush (that is, the only time my brain does that without heavy narcotics) so off I went into the deep blue with a group of merry, non-English speaking Japanese tourists and one anxiety-prone man. Oh, and a dive captain and a first mate named “John”. They were both supposedly named “John” though I remain suspicious they just tell everyone this so they don’t have to bear the ignominy of divers never remembering their real names.
One big hint that you should not be scuba diving is if you are a 70 year old Japanese man, speak not a lick of English, are on your first dive (ever!!) and are so severely hung over that you pee on yourself before boarding the boat. Thankfully, the Johns did not let said disaster-waiting-to-happen dive.
The dives were lovely and I would have more photos from the boat of the gorgeous blue water had I not been shivering so severely that I couldn’t hold my camera. Notice even this photos is lopsided.
Diving for me goes something like this:
1. Put on wetsuit so thick that I look like a giant Michelin man. It generally takes two men to pry me into them because I refuse to get a size that fits. If I got a size that fit, I would have to admit that perhaps, just maybe I should maybe diet just a wee bit.
2. Dive for 60 minutes. Start to shiver uncontrollably in about 20 minutes because small female humans named “Anne-Marie” aren’t meant to dive in 74 degree water at 80 feet down . Foray on and insist on being the last out of the water.
3. Get on the boat and realize I can’t get out of the sopping wet wetsuit without help. Realize that my pride is the size of my a** and don’t ask for help. Stay sopping wet for the hour between dives, generally with gale-force winds driving through my cold, salted-dread-locked hair.
4. Put on 75 pounds worth of gear and start the entire process again, only this time, start shivering at minute 5 and wonder why there are no under-water-warmer swimsuits on the market. Decide to start a new business and call it “Magic Water Warm!” ™ to sell to skinny, prideful women divers all over.
Thus, no photos. Shaking, shivering wet and with a Body Mass Index in the normal range, I couldn’t hold a camera still. You’ll have to content yourself with the random posted vacation photos instead.
On the plus side, there were whales that breached in front of the boat (no, I did not see it. I was looking the wrong way. But I did turn around in time for the largest splash ever. Of all time. So, I sort of saw it). One whale did perform for us and flapped and slapped his tale 15 times (yes, really, 15 times) on the water with a giant splash each time. I was beginning to worry that some sea-going kayakers must have enraged the whale and he was beating them into a bloody pulp or at least, submission. But, I was told he was just happy and calling his peeps to him. Alrightly then … either way, it was an awesome display of brute raw nature. (And, it happened right in front of the boat and glory be, I actually saw this through the shivering and overcame my natural instinct to always be turned around when anything cool happens. I, however, did not happen to overcome my natural instinct to never photograph said-nature-coolness. Thus I can’t share it with you. My bad.).
The best part of the entire day however was definitely the first dive where we could hear the whales calling to eachother, talking and singing. The deep sonorous song of the whale was so resonant that we could feel the vibrations in our chest throughout the dive. I’ve been diving since I was a wee lass of 16 and have never had that experience. It was once-in-a-lifetime.
And now, I’m going to work on a fun soap project and give the Happiness blogs a rest for one day. Plus, the project is St. Patrick’s Day related and if I don’t use it now, I’ll have to save it for next year. And, despite daily yoga and meditation, my patience levels are not that zen yoda like … yet.
Jacquelyn, I’m dry-suit certified and have dove/dived (?) the Straits of Juan de Fuca and it was so miserable and cold. Good call staying out of those waters. =)
I was always such a klutz getting in and out of my wetsuit..a humbling experience.
The whale song made me want to find salt water right now. Well, it is just out my window, but the Straits of Juan de Fuca are much colder. I have never dived her and don’t plan to…I am a warm water diver..preferably warm enough that a shorty wet suit is more than needed to be comfy.
Thanks for sharing your trip, A-M.
You guys are so funny! No, definitely no dry suits in Hawaii. They would think I was flat straight crazy! The water is super cold right now because it’s still winter. Apparently, the water will start to warm next month but until then, brrrrr!
i so so SO want to experience
scuba diving with my daughter
i have lived in some AMAZING
places and so want to share that with them!
we actually visited southern Thailand when my daughter was 6 and then the tsunami hit right after. there were jelly fish and riptides so no scuba….maybe one day.
of all the places in the world the
ocean inspires me more than any
it is the deep calling unto deep that the psalmist refers to i guess. the roaring of the crashing waves and the waxing and waning of the tide. and the sunsets and sunrises and long long walks in sand that makes your feet soft
i better stop there…
wouldn’t it be fun to create an
oceanic soap!!!! hmmm
just got some salty mariner…..
Your commentary of your day is quite entertaining.
I don't blame you for not wanting to get in and out of your wet suit…that can take a lot of time and effort. However, all the work of putting on the suit, the weight of the gear, the dreadlocks and all are made worth it by the dive.
I know what you mean when you say that is the only place where your mind turns off. Being underwater is so tranquil and peaceful. It is about the only time I can stop and just hear myself breathing. I am glad you got to hear the whales. I hope you get to see some sea turtles too. Swimming with them is amazing.
Be sure to try some fresh poke if you get a chance. It is quite good. Also you may want to check out Big Island Candies in Hilo. They are open Saturday & Sunday. They have wonderful treats to bring home.
don’t feel alone, Anne-Marie!
Diane Sawyer was on GMA yesteday
trying to get in ‘n out of her
it was rather funny
quite akward (sp?)
and her producer cut most of it!
so you are in good company.
why is it so cold?
i would give alot of money just to hear that song. or to scuba dive.
or see my Pacific Ocean again….just once!
i know AM is not a mommy (yet!), but here is a great stress reliever,,,,,,act like Dori (Nori?) the little blue fish as she imitates whale songs….in
finding Nemo. the movie.
i know there are some other mommies on this blog who probably know what i’m talkin’ bout!!!!
how fun fun fun!!!!!!
kitty kat goddess says
aloha! welcome to hawaii anne-marie! have a nice vacation, whatever is left of it.
Mary @ Annie's Goat Hill says
Unlike my normal self, I actually am speechless at the moment. 🙂
Okay, getting into the wetsuit, and getting back out, sounds like a lot of work in itself!
And shivering as you tried to snap the lopsided photo…oh my word!!!! Brrr!!!
Seeing the smile on your face tells me that you are having a wonderful time.
Can you rent a drysuit? That will keep you warmer than the wetsuit!
Im so jealous of your vacation! During all the time I lived in Hawaii, I never went snorkeling or scuba diving. Ill have to get on that one day 🙂
Wow! What an amazing day (minus the freezing part). Someday I’ll talk hubby into going to Hawaii…it really isn’t *that* far from home. Hehe
Alex Solla says
This sounds like the most amazing trip! My daughter is a budding marine biologist so we took her to the FL Keys last Feb for some snorkeling. Ended up having to perform some minor lifesaving rescues when some of our party overestimated the warmth of the water (COLD) and their swimming skills (none)… but we saw some of the most amazing things underwater. Like you say, it’s the best experience. I keep wanting to learn to scuba dive though. Now that we’re more landlocked it will have to wait for a vacation to the coast.
Carmen Rose says
Wow! Feeling the song of the whale in your body… what a cool experience that must have been! <3
OMG! You just made me spit my chamomile tea out. You are always sincere so this post came totally out of the blue. Ha ha. I don’t scuba dive and now, I definitely don’t want to! Ha ha.