There are times where we forget we live in Paradise.  When it’s time to pay the outrageous electric bill, when you’re sitting in traffic coming home from Honolulu, when you’re stepping over huge cockroaches on your nightly walk…those things aren’t exactly my idea of living the dream.  But then you have a day like today.  A day where you can decide within a few minutes that you’d like to go snorkeling with turtles.  You pack up a lunch, throw on your swimsuits, check the van for your gear, and you’re feeling the sand in your toes in under a half hour.

Today we’re reminded of just how fortunate we are.  And wow, this place is amazing.  This is our reality!  Unbelievable.

After visiting a new beach earlier this week, we knew we had to come back with our gear.    We’ve seen the sea turtles in many places on Oahu, but we’ve never actually swam with them.  And the other day was pretty nice – we all waded around in the shallow water with the little dudes, but I wanted to get a glimpse of these creatures under the water.  And that’s just what we did today!

As soon as we picked a spot on the beach, I dropped my stuff and quickly threw on my snorkeling gear.  I knew right away that I wanted to head out to the deeper part of this lagoon.  And within just a few minutes of swimming around, I saw a huge shadow and then BAM!  Honu (sea turtle).  And I’m not gonna lie, I freaked out a bit and started trying to swim in reverse.  But once I felt I was a safe distance away, I just couldn’t get enough.  And he didn’t seem to mind me at all.

At this point, I called James over, but the turtle got bored and swam off.  And then when I found him again, I realized my camera wasn’t working.  I was not a happy Nicole.  But James did get to swim around and have the same amazing experience I did.  And when the turtle got closer to the shallow area, Aidan was able to get a glimpse as well.

We all migrated over to the other half of the lagoon, and we convinced Aidan to finally try out his snorkel.  To date, we’d only been able to get him to wear the mask.  And even then, he didn’t seem excited to try again.  But with the turtles giving him a more exciting underwater show than the fish we’d seen before, he was willing to try.  And I grabbed my phone to get some shots

I’m pretty proud to say that he caught onto the breathing thing pretty dang quickly!

James was geeking out as much as me!

Even when the turtles were elsewhere, he still kept practicing.  This beach has a huge shallow area and it’s not crowded.  It provided the perfect opportunity for him to perfect his skills.

Seeing my four most favorite people in the world all enjoying something together is nothing short of magical.

And poor James was put through the ringer today. 🙂
So I went back up and checked my underwater camera again.  The screen on the back was totally black, but there were signs that the camera might be snapping shots.  I just couldn’t see them.  So I decided to take it back in the water and wing it.  Even if I got nothing, at least I tried.  And I’m happy to report that it worked.  Unfortunately, half the pictures are awful.  Worse than normal for me.  But at least I got some decent ones.

This one would have been great.  Ya know, if you could see all of James’s face.  We’ll call it a creative piece.

I can’t tell you what this picture means to us!  Aidan.  In the water.  Snorkeling.

And proof that he was having fun!

It’s a little blurry, but it’s still fantastic.  Sharing these adventures with the kids is amazing.

Then one of the turtles reappeared, and we all had fun checking it out.

I wonder if Aidan’s leg would taste as delicious as seaweed?

No fear at all!

James was creeping up on him, but I think he liked me best.

Do you wanna hold my hand?

That’s Audra to the right back there.

And then it decided to head on out.  I followed it slowly, just watching its flippers rise and fall.

And Aidan went back to practicing.  He’s working hard at allowing himself to just float on the water.  The swim vest is a huge help.  And I have to say, I also spent some time just floating back and forth really close to shore.  It was so incredibly peaceful.  You just flow with the water and listen to your own breathing through the snorkel.  I dragged my hand across the bottom of the ocean floor and just watched the bits of sand fly around everywhere.  I want to bottle that moment up for the next time I’m stressed.

This guy.  I love him.  And I love that I can say, “Let’s go to the beach!” and he hops right to it. 🙂

I’m pretty sure we’ll be back to this beach again very soon.  I just can’t imagine getting bored of swimming with the sea turtles.  And there are some other cool parts that I want to check out.  After I get my camera fixed!

Lantern Floating Hawaii 2014
Secret Encounter with the Sea Turtles