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 couldnt
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.
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. Im 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 wasnt 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