Saturday, June 4, 2011

Photographic memory: drive-by turtle, Maui

On our family vacation in Maui, in 2009, we took a trip on the Reef Dancer, a glass-bottom boat that leaves for tours from Lahaina Harbor.

At first, I wasn't too into the idea of the boat tour. In my opinion, the ocean in Hawaii is best seen up close and personal, snorkeling or swimming in that gorgeous, turquoise water. But of course, it isn't always possible for young children (my kids were 2 and 6 at the time) to experience the ocean that way. So off we went.

The glassed-in, lower observation deck on the Reef Dancer was somewhat noisy because of the engines, but the kids were fascinated by the water and the windows as soon as we got down there. Even my son, who usually has a problem with loud, unknown noises, seemed to handle it fine because he loved the view so much.

The boat stopped in a couple of places and the divers on board would jump in and bring different types of sea-creatures up to the windows: sea urchins, shells, starfish and the like. And of course we saw lots of different kinds of fish and coral as well.

And then we saw the sea turtle. Just this graceful, slow-moving apparition in the water. It swam right towards us and underneath the boat, before heading off and disappearing into the deep blue, apparently rather uninterested in us humans and our boat.

It didn't beat my all-time favorite sea-turtle rendez-vous, which was when I swam next to a very large, very calm turtle just off-shore near D.T. Fleming Beach Park in Maui, but it was still fantastic. And I was so glad that the kids got to see one of these amazing creatures in its natural habitat. And yes, that one brief moment made the whole outing totally worthwhile.

If you want to find out more about Hawaiian sea-turtles, there is lots of information on the Internet, including The Hawai'i Wildlife Fund's website.

Photos taken by my very talented sister.

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