Isn’t that spectacular? On our recent vacation, I was fortunate enough to take a trip to the Molokini crater aboard the Four Winds catamaran. Like so much of family life, this excursion was a mixed bag. I am not one to book a tour, being a cheapskate and a crowdshunner, but I was fascinated by the partially submerged crater out there like an enormous toenail clipping. I doubt I will ever see water so blue again. It hurt my eyes, and almost made me tearful; I can’t describe the emotion it called up. It was just so utterly… blue (like no blue I ever see again will be blue, it will be something else). The water was choppy, making my two skittish daughters, who fear most modes of transport, even more edgy and weepy, (imagine traveling with a cat who has been caught up in a funnel cloud, and a seizure-prone rabbit).
The snorkeling felt frenetic, though the water was clear. I was grateful for the crystalline view of flippers and bronzed gluteal globes in those buttless swimsuits that threaten to be perpetually in style, before either of these items whacked me in the head underwater. But still, it was worth it, since I was never going to get there any other way. Plus get this: my husband went down the kid slide on the back of the boat. Not noteworthy in and of itself, but he let out a whoop in an effort to show off for the nearby, vomiting children. An Australian woman in the water said, “Now I don’t feel so bad about my girly scream, mate.” You can’t put a price on that.
Did I mention there was an open bar on the Four Winds? Okay, not as thrilling as it sounds, because Coors in the morning is something I will only take part in under duress or post-apocalyptically. Instead, I had about seven of the most delightful plain seltzers mixed with ginger puree, poured for me by Dave, a charming lad of indeterminate age, who was so easygoing he defined the island ethos. I insisted Dave name the drink, and after some collaborating, we pronounced it a Four Winds Gingertini (not the name of a bikini for a redhead, or a nickname for my youngest daughter, though perhaps it should be). At home I add lime, and I am thinking of trying it with kaffir lime leaves and a drop of coconut extract. If you are going to start drinking before lunch, best to stick to this refreshing mocktail.
The boat trip back to the marina included a surprise encounter with two dolphins, the first we have ever seen in the wild and the first ever, period, for my daughters.* This was moving and gratifying, but there’s more! We witnessed what must have been the final trio of mother, baby and “male escort,” humpback whales, preparing to depart for Alaska. The boat idled as we watched the baby learn to flip its tail around and be both adorable and awe-inspiring in the way that only a massive marine mammal can be. Again, a first. If we are lucky, not our last, but I don’t want to get greedy. The male escort will see them back to Alaska, auditioning for the role of next season’s mate. It’s not a bad system, since you don’t really know someone until you travel with them. I wished him luck, and nerves of steel, since he would be traveling with an adolescent. Smooth travels, my enormous friend.
*We were pleased to learn on our visit to the Maui Ocean Center, that the county of Maui does not allow dolphins, porpoises, or whales to be held in captivity. May the rest of the world follow suit. Are we beginning to realize that inspiring, intelligent animals were not put on earth to alleviate our perpetual boredom? Should we encounter each other in their habitat, we can count ourselves blessed by the chance meeting. If we never do, well then, they haven’t missed much.