Thursday, June 21, 2012

Shark's Cove

I just had one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  The house we are staying in is across the street from Shark's Cove.  In the afternoons this area is completely packed and it's hard to find a parking spot.  I had it all to myself when I went out about 6:30 this morning.

Our waterproof camera gave up the ghost a few days ago.  We'll get it fixed when we get back to Utah but if there was any time I wished I had it, it was this morning.

As I walked across the street and down into the cove I walked through the light rain that I've come to love about Oahu.  The droplets are so small that it is more of a mist that lightly cools you as each tiny speck of water pricks you with its impact.

I clambered over the rocks to get down into the tide pools.  As I did so, I looked up and saw a beautifully vivid rainbow.  It rose over the ocean and wrapped itself across the sky above the cove.

I had come here to snorkel.  I had my fins and mask, but I realized I was going to need to wade through rocky tide pools before I could get to water deep enough for snorkeling.  I decided I probably wouldn't need my fins and left them on the sand as I started to climb into the tide pools.

Though I had come for the snorkeling, I think I might have actually enjoyed the tide pools even more.  I was wading through sandy pools that varied in depth from 1 to 5 inches.  I was surprised to see so much life within these pools.  It must have been low tide because there were a number of pools that were completely isolated and yet were teaming with fish.  They would zip around my feet, searching for a place to hide while I was just as earnestly searching for places to step without crushing these tiny life forms.

I noticed one kind of fish in particular.  As it would flee my hulking mass, it would beach itself up on the sand.  As I looked closer at this specific fish I noticed it had little finger like protrusions on its fins.  I wondered if it had a special ability for crawling up out of the water a little bit when necessary for safety.

I also saw sea urchins and a few tiny crabs peaking out from holes in the rocks.  There was even some sort of sea cucumber or something similar that was poking out of the water.

I finally made it to water deep enough for snorkeling.  I slipped into the deeper water and instantly was amazed by the fish teaming around me.  In all my snorkeling throughout my Hawaii trip, the most common fish I have seen is the zebra fish.  I have seen them in groups of 10 or 20 before.  But suddenly I was surrounded by 60 or 70 zebra fish in only 8 feet of water.

I floated around these shallow pools.  Some dropped to depths as deep as 20 feet or so.  Others had rocks that shot up so that I was floating in water only 4 feet deep.  I tried to respect the reef as much as possible by only stopping to stand if I was above sand.  At one point, I accidentally touched a rock as I swam by and I pulled back my hand as if to apologize for violating its space.

I'm always a person that wants to touch everything.  Robyn is sometimes embarrassed when we go different places and I have to touch statues, buildings, plants and whatever else we come across.  With so much life in front of me, it was difficult to restrain myself from touching.  But I felt that if nature was going to let me come this close, I should show respect by not being too intrusive.  (Plus, I figured it would be embarrassing to come back to the house and have Robyn scold me for getting bitten, stung, pricked or hurt because I was touching something I shouldn't have been.)

Finally, I started to get a little cold.  (I know, me getting cold.  Who would have thought that could happen?  Especially in Hawaii)  I started to come back in through the tide pools.  I found a glass bottle sitting on top of one of the rocks.  I became a little cranky at human kind.  Here I was doing my best not to touch anything and other people were using this area as their giant trash can.  I grabbed the bottle and headed back through the pools.

On my way back I saw the biggest crab I've ever seen.  (I've eaten crab legs that were longer than this entire crab, but this was the biggest living crab I've seen.)  From the tips of his outstretched legs he was probably 8 inches across.  So he was certainly no Alaskan king crab but he was not one of the 1 inch sand crabs I had seen most of this trip.

He sat on top of a rock surveying his domain.  As he sat there he was king of his castle and was not concerned in the least that I was there.  I got up real close and got a good look at him.  He just looked me in the eye and thought to himself, "Sup?" 

I stood there for a long time.  I thought back to the very first time I went snorkeling.  I got in the water and almost immediately saw a big purple lobster.  At the time I figured people must see those all the time.  But I've been snorkeling dozens of times and never seen another lobster. I compared it to the moment I was having and figured it must be a once in a lifetime experience.

Finally I bid my goodbyes to my crab friend.  I made my way back to the sand, but there again was another crab, (so much for once in a lifetime) just as haughty and sure of himself as the first one.  He was a little smaller, probably 5 inches across.  I stopped to hang with him for a minute or two.  I'm sure I'm not the only person to see a crab at Shark's Cove, but I'm guessing they don't hang out on the rocks like that when the cove is filled with 100 people later in the afternoon.

Finally, I climbed back up the rocks to make my way back to our house.  It was a little difficult trying to climb the rocks with fins and a glass bottle in my hands.  I was super worried I would drop it and break it which increased my crankiness at the original people who left it. 

I crawled up to the top and back to the roadside just as the first car arrived for the deluge of people that will be arriving the rest of the day.  I was glad I was able to have the cove to myself for my special morning adventure.
I don't have any pics of the adventures in the water, but here is a pic of the cove itself


  1. I'm glad you had such a wonderful experience and that you didn't touch anything!

  2. Wow, I now feel less wimpy about getting cold while snorkeling as well!


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