---Alice Abrams

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dolphin Dancing

It was our last morning in Maui and we'd decided to snorkel one more time. My son-in-law, Doug, had talked with some locals and found a great place to snorkel - few people, lots of colorful fish and huge sea turtles, with even an eel or two. Doug had kept saltwater tanks and was thrilled to share his knowledge of the different species with us. On our two previous trips we saw clown fish, lion fish, and tang, whose gem-like colors were something you'd find in a jewelery box: bright cobalt blues, lemon yellows, and vibrant oranges.

In order to get to this wonderful place, you had to park up on the highway, going north from Ka'anapali. You then entered a dense rainforest area and walk downward about a half mile to the bay. The verdant pathway took us through an area full of trees that looked as if an artist had taken buckets of paint and thrown them at the smooth trunks or shot them with paint balls of different colors. We later found out they are Mindanao Gum trees.

The air was so full of oxygen it made one giddy. I stood still while the others walked on up ahead and sucked the air deeply into my lungs, wishing I could take this heavy, sweet, clean air home with me. As I caught up with the rest of them I noticed they were looking at something on the ground. At first, I thought it was a lean-to made for shelter but it was too small for an adult. As we looked closer we understood that it was an altar. The native Hawaiian people build altars with lava rock and plant material. Simplicity and a deep love for their land.

There were pothos (philodendron) whose leaves were the size of an elephant's ear climbing up the giant trees for a peek of the sun. When you grow them in the house, you're lucky if the leaves are the same size as your hand. It's the air and the oxygen and the rich earth. As you approach the water you see a horseshoe shaped bay with a rather large opening to the ocean. There was no beach, just rocks on which you gingerly perched to put on your mask and flippers.

As we readied for this final journey, I happened to look out at the horizon and saw something that took my breath away. At the opening of the bay there were many dolphins jumping, whirling, spinning and leaping! Like soccer moms heading to a sale at Nordstrum's, we raced out across the water, swimming as quickly as we could, trying to reach the dolphins before they headed out to deeper water.

I am not a strong swimmer but my body filled with adrenalin and I swam as fast as I could. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by dolphins! They appeared to have met us and were closer to shore than they had been. They were definitely spinners and were spinning all around me, in the air and in the water! At our best count, there were between 25-30 of them, dancing, spinning, frolicking all around us, delighting us to our very core. Doug had his underwater camera with him and was able to take a wonderful photo of a mother and calf. The calf was actually spinning around it's mother! As I glanced at my husband and daughter, their faces were filled with joy and pure amazement as I'm certain mine was.

They would swim up close and we would put out our arms as far as they could reach, then they'd break away and swim off or spin under, around and up in the air, chattering to each other in that distinctly "dolphinese" dialect that TV's Flipper first echoed many years ago. It was if they were teasing us, getting within our reach, tempting us and then turning and darting away, letting us know they had the upper hand.

We must have had twenty minutes with our friends before they slowly drifted off and we realized we were alone and had drifted out quite away from the beach. The guys swam on back while my daughter and I took our time making our way slowly through the mild water, realizing that we had just had the experience of a lifetime. Dolphins have become an icon in New Age thought and are said to have healing powers. If anything, dolphins have the power to let us interact with them and become a part of their world. I was healed from the cares and burdens I place upon my back for the twenty minutes we danced with the dolphins.

Our darling Doug died three years after this trip. When I think of Doug and become overwhelmed by his loss, I go back in time to that moment when we danced with dolphins and I smile. That is healing...


Smalltown RN said...

I found your blog from Curmudgeon...and I love your blog!! You had mentioned to Curmudge about moving more the north to get away from the smog and heat and wondered about heating bills. Well get a place that has a fireplace that's primarily how I heat my house. I just got my heating bill for Nov. to Jan. just over $430.00 and that is with the extra lighting we use at christmas, and having guest so extra showers and laundry. So I think that is pretty good.

Your pictures are wonderful. I very much enjoyed reading your blog. I have been to Bakersfield. My mom use to live is Paso Robles and she had friends in Bakersfield.

Helen said...

Oh, how amazing! What a wonderful exerience.

Hootin Anni said...

What a wonderful story....tho there is a loss of a loved one there....but, wow, you write with such vibrancy it was like I was tagging along. [I've been to Oahu only---but when there, I know the beauty of the islands]

And no, you're not the oldest. I can guarantee it [the over 50 bloggers] *laughing*

I've skimmed through your entire blog that is showing when the addy is open...gotta say ---cute, cute doggie, and the bird on its shoulder is so sweet.

Then----LEFT behind? That was way too funny. I started reading that series and after about 3 or 4 books into it, and only so many days had passed, I was wondering just how long the end of the world is gonna take! What a hoot.

[sorry to all the believers]

Happy day, and welcome to our new blogroll. I'll surely be back to visit. You have style!!!!

Ron Simpson said...

I am jealous. I have wanted to go to Hawaii for a long time. I also want to swim with dolphins. I will have to wait until Brandy gets out of Nursing school. Just 2 more years. *Sigh*. We took Nathan to Seaworld in San Diego last August. He was fascinated by the whales and dolphins. He still talks about them constantly. He would be soooooo thrilled to swin with dolphins. We could nto afford the dolphin interaction at Seaworld, to have it free and in thier natural environment....sweet.

Katie said...

That sounds like such a beautiful time. Such a great memory. and your writing draws such clear images! just... beautiful.

I'm sorry about your son-in-law but I'm glad that you have such a wonderful memory of him

Barb said...

Oh my gosh... that experience must have been simply amazing. I got goosebumps reading it!

masgblog said...

thx for the visit re the bestest Blog for today. Maui is on my list of places to visit. I have wated to go to Hawaii since I was old enough to know about it (and that's a long time)....I'll be back to visit....nice site