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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yesterday's Swimming Adventures

As a reward for finally getting my errands done today, I went snorkling yesterday at an old cane field dock camp, called "Mahu Kona." It's usually got fascinating junk in the usually clear water, with lots of fish - in the past I've seen octopus and other interesting sea life. In the last few months, a new ladder has been installed at this old dock that was much lower to make getting out of the water easier.

The wave action was higher than usual, about four foot waves that periodically were sloshing over the surface of the swim dock about every fifteen minutes. There was nobody else in the water swimming when I first got there, so I watched the ocean for about twenty minutes before I decided I could handle getting in and out even at its worst. This is usually a very clear snorkling area, but with the wave action I was going to have to swim pretty far out to be able to see any sea life. While I was waiting, I talked to a local to check that the area I had the idea to swim into didn't have strong currents. So I got trussed up in my full wetsuit and both my fins to give me more time being in the water without getting chilled. It was my maiden voyage on my slightly dicey formerly sprained ankle I've been babying that I thought was OK now, so I wanted to be able to take it easy.

I made it out without running into surge. Another young woman jumped in the water five minutes after me who was a really great swimmer. Since we were the only two people swimming, we partnered up to make it safer while we were keeping away from the wave action close to shore. Her name turned out to be George. We decided to head out parallell to where dolphins sometimes are sighted where the water was likely to be more clear and we could see some fishies - about a mile swim 200 ft. offshore. Without fins, this girl swam about as fast as I could with fins! Wow, it was fun to have her as a swim partner. We stayed out for a little more than an hour, and did find a place where the water was clear enough to see some fish and coral heads. I particularly enjoyed a whole school of forty or so Sargent Majors, Yellow Tang and Butterfly fish.

Getting out was a little dicey for me. A set of waves happen to come along just as I had gotten my fins off and tossed them onto the dock, so I had to launch back off the swim ladder at the last moment to avoid getting schmushed into it by one of the sloshing big ones. Then there were the three waves after that that almost tossed me onto the rocks. But George, (she had said that she had lifesaving qualification,) was standing there on the dock watching me in case I hit my head or really couldn't make it. So I mustered the courage and timing to paddle back up to get out between waves all right, even though I was worn out from the swim. I know that I would have been much more careful about waiting for a wave set to have passed if I was swimming alone. It was exciting, even though not exactly the sort of excitement I would choose!

It made me feel young at heart again to have dared and won and not gotten hurt after all. Also enjoyed hanging out with George and her girlfriend watching the sunset and cooking over the fire later, even though they're both traveling gypsy-camping girls that I'll probably never see again. A really fun adventure.

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