When I was younger, I wanted to be a marine biologist. I was obsessed with fish starting somewhere around 3rd grade when I got my first puffy-eyed goldfish, Jacque. Eventually my little fish bowl evolved to a ten gallon tank with lights and a big algae eater. I bought books about fish, wished I was the Little Mermaid, and planned to go to college in Hawai'i to study marine biology. Just one problem - I'm not a swimmer. Sure, I took lessons and learned how to swim, but I am just not any good at it. I am also pretty dainty around open water. So it's a good thing my fish obsession ended sometime before I needed to start applying for college.
I was drawn to fish because of their vibrant colors. I am fascinated with the electric colors of the sea. I'm not big on museums, but the one place I could spend hours was at the Shedd Aquarium. Now, as an adult who doesn't live near any open water or aquariums, I don't think much about life under the sea... until Andrew and I were lucky enough to spend this past week in Maui, Hawai'i. The instigator for our trip was the Texas Longhorns' participation in the Maui Invitational basketball tournament. Andrew is a *huge* UT basketball fan, and the team's bid for this tourney only happens once every 7 years or something, so we decided to go for it.
I traded in my flip flops for some flippers one afternoon. Andrew was interested in going snorkeling, and as someone who isn't very confident in the water, I was reluctant. I thought he meant just to swim out in the ocean with the little plastic snorkel gear. But turns out there are professional tours that take you to amazing reefs complete with guides, equipment, lunch, and 'beginning snorkeling.' Reviews looked good, so I booked us on an afternoon boat. Typically the afternoon is the less desirable time to go, because the winds pick up and the water is sometimes too choppy to get a good view, but we went with it (had to plan things around those darned basketball games!). Turns out it was such a beautiful day that the afternoon group got to visit the Molokini Crater, which is supposedly superior snorkeling.
Here is an online pic of the Crater:
Looks pretty awesome right? Well, here is what the crater looked like for our view:
I did notice that the water was super blue and clear where we docked. After getting a quick lesson on how to snorkel and getting all our gear, I leaped off the boat into the sea. Just kidding. Here's what really happened: I rented a wet suit top, found a 'ski belt' which is a waistline life preserver thing, and even took a boogie board - I was so buoyant that I'm surprised I was able to put my face in the water! The boat had a 'no fins on deck' rule, so I had to sit down on the stairs to put my flippers on before getting in. And then, I awkwardly climbed down the stairs wearing excessive flotation devices to enter the water. I later discovered that Andrew captured this moment on our rented underwater camera. At least it wasn't a video camera.
So I'm finally in the water. I put the snorkel tube in and attempt to breathe through it but I didn't have it on right so I got a mouthful of salt water. Then I tried again, put my face in the water, and saw the most magical scene! It was like I was Ariel in my own Little Mermaid movie! OK, if you have snorkeled before, it probably isn't that impressive to you anymore, but this was the first time I have ever seen the beauty of sea life in its natural environment. Un.Belivable.
One of the first guys I saw was a bright yellow guy like this:
I LOVE these beautiful bright colors!
At this point I am in complete awe. I am not even noticing that the water is freezing or that I am swimming -out in the ocean. Parts of the reef were only about 7 feet deep, so it didn't seem like open water. The area around the crater was very protected with little waves or wind. I swam closer to the shore to see more detail of the coral, and then, I ran into this guy:
SHARK! He was probably less than two feet long, but I wasn't sticking around.
I'm glad Andrew got a picture of him though. He is much braver than me.
It was awesome being the only boat there. In the morning, there are up to 25 other boats there..and our boat had 1/3 of the snorkelers that the morning trip does. I can't imagine having so many more people there, as I had a few run ins with other snorkelers and we were able to explore more of the reef.
So I know snorkeling doesn't have much to do with antiques, but while I was in the water, I thought about just how much I love COLOR. And my early love for fish may be the reason I am still drawn to bold brights in my wardrobe and my decor. Sometimes Andrew refers to our home as a rainbow house because there are lots of colors on the walls and in the furniture and accessories. Even in my booth, I incorporate color. Neutrals are a huge hit in the shabby world, but I love an unexpected pop of color to bring a more contemporary yet natural touch. And my favorite colors with which to decorate? Blues and greens - the colors of the sea and land!
I am thankful for so many things, but this trip helped me recognize the value of curiosity and discovery. I felt like a kid again seeing something new for the first time; Mother Nature is truly marvelous.
I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Have a chic week,