The best thing about making my dreams come true is when I get to re-experience my favorite dreams: hiking half dome, spending a week on a beach, scuba diving, and of course salsa dancing and figure skating have made it a really great month. My Kauai adventure started off with a hike along the Napali Coast Trail. The bottoms of my hiking boots were covered with thick mud and my traction was nonexistent. The jungle became thicker as my friend Jim and I scrambled over rocks trying not to fall into the water as we crossed the river.
"So what happened to going on a short two mile hike to a snorkeling beach and then heading back?" He asked. "I think you're trying to kill me. First, that beach you promised had warning signs all over it about dangerous surf, there was no snorkeling and now we're hiking four more miles into a jungle of slippery mud with only two Cliff bars between us and Caramel Delight trail mix."
"Ah where's your sense of adventure?" I asked. Of course when he'd complained on the first part of our hike I had threatened to push him off the cliff into the ocean, so he might have had reason to believe I was planning his demise. But it was all in good fun.
Heavy humidity and intermittent tropical showers soaked our clothing. We weaved our way through the jungle crisscrossing over the river. The path brought us through a bamboo forest with a stone chimney that looked rather out of place. Jim decided it was for human sacrifice and this was just another sign that I had brought him into the jungle to end his life. People began to pass us on their return trip and no matter how far we had gone they told us that we only had about forty-five minutes left to go to the waterfall. Then they'd smile and say, "I promise it's worth it."
On a little side note I want to know how people can hike through mud, get soaked in rainstorms and still be clean and have good hair. I haven't been graced with this magic power and I want to know how to get it. I looked like a muddy drowned rat.
The jungle finally opened up to a pool of water and a beautiful waterfall. We sat for our gourmet meal of a Cliff bar and then I dove into the frigid waters and swam under the falls to the other side. I think Jim decided to stay out of the water still believing that this trek was somehow my way of ending his life. Really, we're good friends and we love to travel together but on this day he felt I was dangerous and evil.
The next day Jim had the upper hand as we went scuba diving off the coast of Kauai. We had taken our Padi certification together several years before. In the beginning I'd been the more comfortable diver, but Jim had fallen in love with the sport and has about fifty dives to my seven. It'd been many years since I'd gone diving and in the past I'd had some issues with floating to the surface at the end of the dive and swallowing air while at deep depths causing my stomach to distend in a painful cramp as I surfaced. As we entered the water I began to panic - something that shocked the hell out of me.
I went down the rope and as the ocean depth became darker I felt claustrophobic. Panic started to rise and all I could think about was surfacing. Jim took his time, watched over me but nothing calmed the anxiety. I closed my eyes and tried to meditate but that only caused the fear to heighten. Then the twenty-year-old dive master took my hand and began to show me around the ocean floor. Kind of like a kindergarten teacher helping a five-year-old on her first day. She pointed out fish, eel, and a reef shark. I realized that I could breathe easily and though I'm not certain I ever hit the calm point, the sound of my breath brought me to a relaxed state.
The ocean life was incredible: the bright coral colors, schools of fish, small anemone, eels, and massive sea turtles. I swam up within feet of one turtle and we stared at one another. I thought at that moment, this world, this life has so many incredible moments. It takes a little bit of an adventurous spirit, getting over some fear, but the rewards are more than worth it.