A wave of a warm, salty breeze greets me as I step out the mechanically cooled air of the airport and step onto the "island paradise" of Maui. But only a second is taken to let everything seep in, for I have to rush to catch the shuttle to take me to the Aston Ka'anapali Hotel. I look out the window to the sleeping island, letting myself fall asleep with it. All the action is waiting for the sun. An hour later a nudge from my mom awakens me and I sluggishly get off the bus, into the lobby to the elevators. I enter my room and collapse on the bed.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
Still in pacific standard time I wake up before the sun and rush to beach, which is right behind the hotel. I find a comfy beach chair to relax on as I wait. A few moments later the ocean begins to glitter, the suns rays give me a burst of energy and everything is covered in a blanket of light. I sit there for a few moments listening to the crashing waves and squawks of seagulls, surrounded by peace.
I head back to the hotel and find my mom at the daily tourist orientation in the lobby. I also find a free breakfast table full of fruit and baked goods. My mom finds me with my mouth stuffed and a plate full of Hawaii's famous pineapples and their suprisingly tasty danishes and shocks me with snorkeling tickets! We head upstairs to put on our bathing suits and fill our backpack with towels.
We make the mistake of not renting a car but luckily the bus stop is less than a minute away. Getting onto the number 30 bus, we pay four dollars for two guess passes. we switch to the number 25 bus at Whalers Village and get off at the Cinema Center. We follow the map to the Pacific Whale Foundation store to get our tickets verified and head over to the dock to wait in line for boarding to begin. The crew finally opens up the doors and lets in one family at a time. When it was our turn, we step onto the rocking boat, picking up our snorkeling gear on our way to our table.
After a slow start out of the harbor, it was full speed away to the snorkeling sight. While eating our breakfast and watching out for dolphins, the captain of the ship was on the intercom explaining how the Pacific Whale Foundation was a non profit organization, raising money to protect the oceans and inform tourists about the threat we pose to it. We were told our sunscreen actually comes off when we go into the water and coats the coral reefs, home to a whole ecosystem of fish, and kills it. There were even special sunscreen on the boat to prevent that from happening.
The boat slows to a stop and we are let off the boat. Sliding down the slide, I am enveloped in the cold water. Face in the water and kicking my feet, I was able to follow a school of yellow fish so close I could touch them. Deeper down I see the coral reefs, a myriad of colors and fish. Nemo's world is real! We go to this island paradise to relax and enjoy nature so why are we destroying it?
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.