Back in June, I wrote about my newly discovered fear of ocean swimming and I resolved to delve deeper while we were in Hawaii. Mission accomplished! Before we left Hawaii, I floated and drifted — swam is too strong a word — first at Waikiki Beach on Oahu and then later at Kikaua Beach on the Big Island. Of the two, I definitely prefer Kikaua.
While we were visiting Oahu, Brian’s cousin Francis convinced me to give it a go at Fort DeRussy Beach Park because the swimming area there is reef protected. After hours of lounging under an umbrella in the heat of the day, I begrudgingly wandered to the shoreline at Francis and Brian’s urging. The water was frigid and it surged and pulled around me. Brian and I made it past the breakers but I clung to him the entire time we were in the water. I wasn’t enjoying myself. As we returned to shore, I rationalized that maybe the ocean just wasn’t my thing anymore. I’m not the same girl I was 15 years ago, so it’s only natural that my interests changed along with me. I can swim in the ocean, but I don’t like to.
As time wound down for us in Hawaii, Brian and I decided to give ocean swimming another try. There are several good swimming beaches north of Kona, including Anaehoomalu Bay, Spencer Beach Park and Kikaua Beach. All have gentle surf and are deemed “child-friendly.” Of the three, we spent the most time at Anaehoomalu Bay, but I never swam there. Two weekends before we left Kona, Brian and I drove to Kikaua Beach. Immediately Brian deemed it his favorite beach on the Big Island. It has a man-made shoreline along a protected cove with almost no waves, surrounded by lots of shade and space to just relax and enjoy the sounds of nature.
Here was the perfect place to give swimming another go. The entire cove is very shallow and, although I waded several yards off shore, I was still only thigh deep in water. There, I floated on my back for quite a while, relaxed and reveling in the warmth on my face and the quiet of being submerged. Brian called it his sensory deprivation tank. For the first time in several years, I was able to let go and remember the ocean for the peaceful experience I used to enjoy. We enjoyed the experience so much that we repeated it our last full day in town.
What I learned in the process: My interests have changed. I am no longer afraid to enter the ocean, particularly when assured of safety, but I don’t enjoy the tugging and pulling of waves and currents. I prefer the peace and solitude of drifting in a protected cove. Does that say something about where I am in life as a whole? It just might.