I truly lead a charmed life. I was helping a friend out with a retreat he coordinated, and we had about 15 or so people out on kayaks and SUP boards the other day. Most of these people were not experienced in the water, so it was good that the water was mellow. The wind was blowing us south though, so our fearless leader set us off in a northerly direction so that we would not have to fight the wind coming back in. Not only was that smart, but it happened to put us RIGHT near a mama humpback whale and her baby. I couldn’t believe how close we were, at times they surprised us about 10 yards away.
I was mesmerized, as you can imagine, paddling along on my beat up rental SUP board. At one point, they hadn’t come up for a bit, and I noticed for the first time that scattered throughout the choppy water were large circles of smooth, calm water. Wherever they surfaced, they left behind a beautiful circle of calmness. Then, I sensed to turn left when others turned right, and they surfaced very close to me. I began to paddle alongside them, traveling about the same pace. It was playful, and I felt just like a kid….romping around with the whales. Eventually, they went down, so we all paused, and I looked back toward Molokini Crater, where I thought I saw snorkelers. It seemed awfully far out for snorkelers, and then I noticed more and more black spots coming out of the water. It turned out to be dolphins! Lots of dolphins. They were to our left, behind, and in front of us. they were so playful, and it was evident they were playing with the whales that day. The whole sea was at play! As soon as I realized we were encircled by the dolphins, I turned left, and there was a breach maybe 50 yards away. Amazing! It was as if the dolphins and whales were working together. “Okay, we’re going to gather the people in while you get ready. When we signal, jump!”
The magic of Maui never ceases to amaze me. We are truly students here, with nature our teacher.