This week, while on Maui, a co-worker and I woke before sunset, only having a few hours before we were to fly back home, hoped on the loaner bicycles the hotel offered us, carrying nothing but our identification and a few bucks, and cycled to a local surf shop. After striking a bargain for two hours on a double sea kayak instead of the daily price, we carried our boat to the beach.
Sylvia and I are pretty petite woman, however the heavy plastic boat, although awkward, wasn’t so bad carrying across the road, down the beach and into the surf as we’re both fit and strong. Unlike most Maui mornings it was cloudy and sprinkling. We were the only boat out. A few surfers rested on their boards, waiting patiently for the waves that appeared to be picking up with the rain. We paddled past them, nodding our heads a “hello” and without talking much, worked our way far out to sea.
We were on a mission that morning. The Humpback whales are visiting the waters off of Hawaii presently and essentially, the waters between the islands is like their big play pen. I had never seen a Humpback and was looking forward to hopefully experiencing the beauty of what I consider one of the seas most majestic creatures.
That particular morning they were far off shore due to the clouds and choppy waters. I began to get nervous as more than a mile and a half was between us and the safe shoreline. Although I enjoy the water I am a land-lover at heart. Though I continued on my morning journey. We stopped when the winds began to blow a bit and decided to just sit back and not go further to be safe.
After just a few minutes we began seeing the beauties breech out of the water, their tales slapping the sea as they’d land. We waited for them to get closer, hoping they may even swim under us (Silvia’s had that very experience herself.” Then I heard it; The coolest sound ever. The sound of the Humpback’s blow-hole releasing the air from her lungs. It was beautiful. I knew she was a female because as she breached in almost slow motion out of the water, her little calf followed suit and breached as well. My breath was taken away.
The weather began to change and we couldn’t stay any longer hoping they’d come closer. We began the long and laborious paddle back to shore. It seemed harder, as if the boat was heavier. Sylvia and I paddled stronger and when I thought my arms would give in, we rode a wave to the beach and stumbled out of the kayak. We were barely able to push it on the beach.
When we tried to pick it up and carry it as we did earlier, it was almost impossible. We decided she’d pull the front and I’d push the end, dragging it on the beach and up the grass. Once we got it to the sidewalk, still needing to cross the road, we heaved it off the ground and struggled – having to stop every foot or so. I felt so weak. The guys from the shop saw us and ran over to help. They couldn’t pick it up either. After turning the boat over, saying it was full of water, they inspected it. Apparently there was a crack in one of the drain holes. The boat was completely full with water; the reason it had been so difficult to paddle and carry on the way back. We were told that had we stayed out any longer, it would have likely sunk. We just sort of looked at each other. I wondered to myself if we did sink out there….would a fellow mother come help us out….now THAT would be a story to tell, wouldn’t it?