May 1, 2013 - 7:35pm -- swingbug

There is no left and right on Hawaii. There is makai (towards the ocean) and mauka (towards the mountain). As I am perhaps the only geographer with no innate sense of direction, this works out well for me. I can navigate with confidence when the two main landmarks are visually apparent no matter where you stand.

This is good because our various digital devices are having a hard time out here. And Siri's Hawaiian pronunciation is worse than her Spanish. ("Dos" has a long "o", love; it's not "daws".) We finally turned her off before she could try Kamehameha or Kealakekua again.

Time to navigate the old fashioned way.

Today we went snorkeling just off the City of Refuge. This was a place of amnesty and absolution for the ancient Hawaiians. In the family albums back home, we have photos of all us grandkids in turn standing sternly next to its imposing tikis.

And the ancient Hawaiians could really pick the spots, let me tell you.

Shawn and I kicked off from Two Step out over the coral reef. He grabbed my hand and we headed out towards the deep blue water (makai) and into--I kid you not--a pod of dolphins. We counted nineteen, and they were so close at moments that we could have touched them. I've been to Hawaii quite a few times, but that right there? That was a new one for me.

I've never swam in such deep water. And that's probably not true. What I mean is that I've never swam in such deep water with a face mask on while it was clear enough to actually see that I can't see the bottom. And I could see about 100'. The sense of sneaking one past gravity was overwhelming.

It's a new experience, being an adult here. Our childhood beach was Kahaluu. Still awesome, but irrefutably safe. Small, contained, shallow, no surf, lots of fish smaller than me. Fitting myself back into a world I knew when I was half the mass I am now is disorientating in some respects. A change in perspective gained less by the change in elevation than the change in years, I expect.

Those are deeper waters than I want to get into right now, though. I swam with fracking dolphins today. I'm good.

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