Yeah, so, mighty, mighty good man David is always talking me into doing things I never thought I’d do.
First, I had his baby. And now, I went snorkeling in Hawaii.
I have never been snorkeling in my life. I’ve never even worn those goggles in the swimming pool. Also, I get seasick, so getting on a boat in the ocean isn’t my idea of a good time. Actually, I love being on boats, but I pay for it with vomiting.
While we were in Hawaii last week, David suggested we go snorkeling. Wait, no just snorkeling: sunset snorkeling. And not just sunset snorkeling … swimming with manta rays.He suggested it, and I cringed.
“No?” He said.
“They are wild creatures. They will totally bite us,” I said.
“No, no. Manta rays are gentle,” he said.
After a few minutes, I agreed to do it. I beat cancer. I can work up the courage to swim with the manta rays.
David found a terrific company, Big Island Divers, who offered a pretty decent deal. For about $100 each, they take you out on a boat to an area along the island at sunset that is positively packed with fish. You snorkel for about an hour. Then you get back in the boat, have a sandwich, watch the sunset, and after sunset you get back in the water to swim with the manta rays.
Sounds easy enough, right? We squeezed into our wetsuits, which David immediately pointed out made us look like “Tron.”
On our boat, there were five scuba divers and five snorkelers. After the divers got in the water, we lowly snorkelers were able to get it.
You guys, snorkeling is really cool. Once you get used to the idea that you can breathe underwater, it’s so amazing to see all the fish and sea creatures. It’s like watching Animal Planet and swimming.
But then the seasickness started to kick in. I took Dramamine the night before and an hour before getting on the boat. And I know what you are thinking: “You got seasick while you were in the water, you pussy?” When you are snorkeling you are on top of the water. You are moving up and down with the waves, which can make you sick. Don’t judge me.
After I got back into the boat, I really started to feel sick. The crew was so kind: giving me ginger ale and ginger chews. The scuba divers got back into the boat, and they told me that they saw a little white tail shark.
“How scary,” I said.
“Oh no. It was really cool,” one of them said.
“It’s a shark. It will totally bite you,” I replied, because not only am I someone who will get seasick by snorkeling and I am a buzz kill. “I’ve seen Shark Week.”
Everyone was laughing and having a good time, and I was doing everything I could not to throw up on everyone.
After a glorious sunset, I somehow worked up the wellness to get back into the water. I wasn’t going to miss the manta rays, and more importantly, I wasn’t going to let David down. He wanted us to do this together, and I was going to do it, dammit.
After sunset, five or six more boats showed up, all of them different diving companies. All of the scuba divers went to the bottom of the ocean with lights. All of us snorkelers held on to some big square with huge light in the middle pointing down, and slammed our faces in the water to see the show below us. With all the lights in the water, it looks like something out of “The Abyss.”
Then the manta rays came swimming into the area. Apparently, they come to this same spot every night to eat plankton.
The manta rays were awesome! Awe. Some. It was pretty damn cool to be so close to them. I wish I had an underwater camera so I could share a photo with you. There was someone on site filming it, but I don’t think we’re going to pay for the video. HOWEVER, one of the crew, a gentleman named Flipper, filmed some great footage earlier this year.
There were 35 rays that night. I believe there were 15 the night we went out.
So anyway, it was really amazing, but sadly I only lasted for about 30 minutes of the hour-long swim. I started to feel really sick. I just knew if I threw up I would ruin the whole thing for everyone. Manta rays want to eat plankton, not my puke. A fellow snorkeler said she was too cold and swimming back to the boat, so I tagged along with her. I was bummed to leave the rays, but glad that someone else was swimming back to the boat, too.
When we got to the boat, the captain tried to make me feel better, giving me more ginger ale and plenty of towels.
“Does this happen a lot? Do you get a lot of people who get seasick?” I asked.
“No,” he replied.
“Ha! You couldn’t just lie to me? I guess folks who get seasick don’t sign up for this activity,” I said.
“Yep,” he replied.
“Lesson learned, sir.”
Actually, being seasick was totally worth it. It was an awesome experience that I will never forget, and I would sign up to do it again. Maybe I would stick to one dive next time. Super big thank you to David for once again talking me into something amazing.