Before I left Portland, I did some reading and wrote portions of a post about Molokini Crater, a snorkeling destination off the coast of Maui. I think I doomed our voyage before it began. The winds descended from the north and the crater was too choppy to snorkel.
Instead, we sailed to the north off of Olowalu Beach. The winds whipped the sails as we hit up to 18 knots (almost 30 miles an hour). We had chosen a company (Paragon) that is known for using their sails as much as possible, and they certainly did. As we cut through the water, flying fish leapt out of the water and flew away from the twin hull of the catamaran.
When we reached Olowalu, the water was crystal clear and we could see the coral from the deck of the boat. Our captain informed us that Olowalu acts as a turtle cleaning station: algae grows on the shells of the turtles, wrasse (a type of fish) eats algae, so the turtles come here to have their shells cleaned. It’s a perfect symbiotic relationship.
As I entered the water, I swam away from the boat and put my mask in the water. I immediately saw two turtles floating serenely below me! As I continued on my way, I saw three more. By the end of the trip, I saw 6 or 7 turtles having their shells cleaned. They each entered the wrasse cleaning station like it was a carwash. If I don’t see another turtle this trip, I have satisfied my need to see turtles.
P.S. What better way to follow up a morning on the water than with a giant shave ice? Flavor: Tiger’s Blood (strawberry and pina colada)