The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

We're Going to Need a Bigger Snorkel
by Trenton Dietz

As the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Maui has many tourist attractions like the Road to Hana, Molokini Crater, and an infinite supply of Piņa Coladas. For snorkelers, Black Rock is a beautiful destination. Located on Kaanapali Beach, Black Rock is a cliff surrounded by golden sand and colorful fish. It juts out into the Pacific like the prow of a ship, waves crashing at its base. And for some reason, I decided to try to swim around it . . .

So there I was in Hawaii, enjoying the sun and feeling on top of the world when my adventurous brother suggested I rent some snorkeling equipment and join him in an underwater expedition. It was the first time I had ever really been snorkeling. And for about a half-hour, it was awesome. I couldn’t believe the fish that were swimming within a few feet of the tourist-crowded shore. My brother and I casually strolled down the beach, stopping occasionally to get in the water and look around. Eventually, a well-meaning gentleman gave us a tip that there were some turtles on the far side of Black Rock. He also told us that we could either walk around the back of the cliff or, since we looked like pretty good swimmers, we could just swim around.

Sure we were pretty good swimmers. We had just started snorkeling, but we were doing well. We were strong, healthy young men. Swimming around Black Rock would be no problem.

Twenty minutes later, I was in thirty feet of ocean with waves coming in on one side and a large black rock on the other. My childhood paranoia of sharks had come back in force. I wondered what had come over me to make me think this was a good idea.

As I swam, I could feel panic seeping into my mind. It was one of those few times in my life where I felt like I could actually die. I’m not sure if it is a side-effect of the modern world or simply human complacency, but in most circumstances I feel like there is some sort of safety net between me and death. Even driving on a highway at 70 miles per hour, I feel like I can handle myself. Or skiing down a mountain, I feel confident in my own ability to avoid getting an impromptu rhinoplasty from a Douglas-fir. But swimming in the ocean, I wasn’t sure if I had the strength to keep swimming. And that scared me; it made me feel very mortal and very weak.

And then I saw it: the pink snorkel of a ten-year-old girl swimming around from the other side.

I am such a wimp.