Above is Black Rock, a corner of the beach in an area of Maui, Hawaii known as Kaanapali. Black Rock is a big lava flow surrounded by coral that is known for having some of the best snorkeling on the island. I thought about this information ahead of the trip with some trepidation because I wasn't looking forward to having to say yes or no when the question of snorkeling was inevitably raised. I wanted to avoid my discomfort by not having to make a decision about it.
I've always had a healthy respect for the ocean, and when you combine it with an active imagination, you don't venture too far or too often into the water! Even as a little girl I could psyche myself out in the swimming pool thinking about sharks. All these years of living in the Pacific Northwest I have stayed close to the shore not just because the water is really cold, but also because I didn't want things to come from somewhere below in the dark water and eat me. Sure, we don't have sharks, but there are Killer Whales....several hours away.....it could happen: Someone has to be the first person ever eaten in these conditions.
Once we were in Maui, I finally had to face the issue. As my husband, kids and I walked along the sidewalk towards where the snorkeling equipment rental shack was, I said to myself, "If we are careful, it can't hurt to give it a try. Plus, in a location like Black Rock, there are lots of people farther out in the water than you or the kids will be, so if there is a shark, they will get eaten first and give you time to get out of the water."
And you know what? I really loved snorkeling. It was amazing to discover how much was going on underneath the water's surface. I couldn't believe that before that day I had been in the water, unaware that little groups of fish were swimming right by me. It was so pretty, seeing all the vibrant colors of these small schools of fish. I floated and watched how calmly the fish puttered along, their course slightly changed by the motion of the waves coming in to shore. I still kept an eye on the blue expanse beyond me, but as I relaxed I congratulated myself for getting past the fear. "I could get used to this!" I thought happily.
Next day we visited a few places and after lunch ended up at stopping at a beach that I think was called Puamana. We saw a few people out snorkeling. Although it was way less busy than Black Rock and therefore wouldn't provide the human buffer I had enjoyed at Black Rock, I was game for more snorkeling. Then I saw this sign:
So I decided, maybe just Black Rock is my snorkeling place.