The previous day, we had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of two Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. I even caught one on camera up close. Now we were back with snorkeling gear, hoping to catch a glimpse of their underwater world. We were not disappointed.
If meditation is not for you (it isn’t for me), snorkeling in the tropics might be a good alternative. Once the mask is on and you’re in the water, the interlocking rhythm of your own breathing and the gentle flopping of the waves are all you can hear. Meanwhile, your eyes are feasting on an infinity of warm, blue-green water as magical creatures cruise by. I could feel myself entering a zen state as my muscles relaxed and my mind cleared itself of everything else.
Under the mesmerizing tapestry of glistening turquoise is a whole other dimension, an explosion of color brimming with life. First, we noticed very slender, silvery fish with a blue streak along their body swimming just below the water surface. There were schools of them everywhere we looked. The fact that we had been swimming among all these creatures the previous day, completely oblivious of their presence, is mind-boggling.
This was only the tip of the iceberg. Or in this case, the tip of the reef. Swimming a little closer to the cluster of basalt rocks and corals that create the small, shallow pool, we were greeted by its diverse community of inhabitants. Some look familiar, from Disney cartoons or nature documentaries perhaps. Others boast striking color palettes that only nature could ever imagine so beautifully.
Suddenly, my turtle friend from the previous day appears right below me. He does not seem to mind my being there. I try to keep my distance to give him his space but the waves insist on bringing us closer together. His shell is just a few inches under my belly, grazing on seaweed sprouting from the sandy floor. I‘m tempted to stroke his back but decide he shouldn’t be disturbed. Can’t a turtle have lunch in peace?
Observing the fish in their natural habitat, it becomes clear why their bodies had evolved just so. I watch the angel fish use its tiny, angled lips to reach into the crevices of the reef. Sea urchins lurk quietly in tiny round caves, seemingly tailor-made to fit their size. Meanwhile, George witnesses another fish burying itself in the sand and completely disappear.
We snorkel in tandem for a little while, fingers interlocked, as we let the fish create the tour unfolding around us. Intrigued fish peek at us from under their hideout before deciding to come out and show off their colors just long enough for us to admire. There is so much beauty to behold, if we can only take a moment to notice.
Please respect the natural habitats by abiding to the law.
- No pet policies are not only because of the inconvenience to other humans, but also to protect the wildlife.
- Similarly, if the sign says “please give turtles space”, then do that.
- Do not feed wildlife. It can disturb their feeding patterns.