Despite the late hour in which I found myself I could not help but gaze in awe at the beauty that was Maui. Being a boy who had lived most of his life in the urban desert of Las Vegas I was completely unaccustomed to the plethora of life and vibrant natives that I found on the small ocean island. Sure the occasional drunk on the Vegas strip was entertaining, amusing at most, but this; this island was something beyond words. A week was not enough time to explore its every crevice and natural brilliance; however the things that I discovered on this island are in every definition of the word inexplicable.
We had reserved a small condo on a rather quaint part of the island, near a horseshoe shaped cove that separated us almost completely from the outside world. I vividly recall looking out my musky window one clear afternoon and thinking “Wow… So this is what the color green looks like”. For hours we would snorkel, swim, explore, or even take a simple walk through the elegant sheets of rain that fell almost hourly on our part of the island. Perhaps the most life changing experience during this trip was the night dive that my family and I participated in. We had rented several underwater flashlights from the local snorkeling shop and decided to plan our own night dive rather then spending a multitude of money on the more “extravagant” snorkeling companies who planned nightly dives for tourists. As I entered the shockingly cold water I entered a state of numbness. However this physical oddity was quickly replaced by a sudden rush of panic as I stared out into the black broth that lie in front of me. My Dad walked up behind me and shoved me unsympathetically into the shallow water. My response was a gurgled yelp as I sucked in water through my breathing pipe. I glared at him while he grinned walking further into the water until only the plastic tube was visible from above the placid water. My brother and I shifted gently into the water and flicked on our flashlights which exploded into life quietly. The trail of light emitted by the flashlight traveled for only a few feet in the dense water before dissipating into nothingness. That however was enough; the array of life I now saw was completely different from that life I had seen during my morning and afternoon dives. Crustaceans the size of my torso feebly leaped from coral stem to coral stem being careful not to alert there fish adversary that still lurked lazily in the shadows. Suddenly someone was tapping me on my shoulder so I resurfaced silently determined not to disturb the ecosystem below me.
“Turn off your flashlight” my Dad huffed. So I did. Imagine for a moment utter darkness, then picture that darkness filled with thousands of beady fluorescent eyes. The eyes belonged to the hundreds of shrimp that inhabited the reef. After discovering this paradox we left wholeheartedly to the shoreline and receded back into our cozy condo.
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