I fell in love all over again with why we are here in this amazing country – we visited my favorite beach and as soon as we arrived it was love all over. This is just a small beach in a magical cove that has some pretty deep water for swimming, and the waves can be so gentle that they are virtually non-existent, or at times they can actually be great for body surfing. There was even one time when there was a life guard present warning of rip tides (we were shocked that this little out of the way In the middle of nowhere beach had a life guard present – really?). Whatever, it only happened one time and there was hardly a rip, not like some of the other beaches that we go to that are a little bit closer to home, long stretches (really long stretches) of beach with some serious rip tides. It is absolutely necessary that you are a good swimmer with general knowledge of rip tides if you want to get out and swim beyond the waves. We actually were at one of those beaches when a man drowned while saving his daughter who had been caught in the rip, a blatant realization of how serious it truly can be.
But returning to our pristine beach…wow, the tide was high and getting higher, and I was high and getting higher just being there! Could not wait to jump into that water, right out of the truck and in quick as a glimpse, it was like a bathtub it was so warm! I swam way out beyond the waves and just languished in the awesome pristine beauty and remote privacy that this beautiful little beach gifted the very few of us that were present to enjoy, floating along in the highly saline water, wondering what the rich folks were up to. Today the waves were good enough to body surf and Mate was thoroughly enjoying his rides, and I was thoroughly enjoying just swimming around in the water for the longest time, connecting with the Earth Mother in the most intimate way, the birthplace of life itself: the ocean. Ahhh, the amazing nurturing that I get from the embrace of the Mother, all of my mind trips washed away and nothing left but love.
The south side to this small beach cove has some pretty steep rough rocks as the point moves out into the ocean, and around the point are some magical tunnels and caves that are pretty spectacular, attracting folks in boats (we see them occasionally) and more people that flock to that beach – Playa Ventanas, the ‘Windows’ beach. We have yet to visit that beach (some day we will), this one is so awesome, private and secluded that we just choose this one to enjoy as often as possible! Okay, so these rocks…we are for sure bringing some fishing gear next time so we can throw some line in off the rocks to try our luck with the fish. We know that there are a lot of bait fish along those rocks (always), and what follows bait fish? Bigger fish! There are so many really good eating fish along this coast, and so many are right here off of the beaches. Mate has been working hard at getting the gear together for surf fishing and rock fishing, so the day is not far off – the weather is the major deciding factor, as it has been really hot lately, and this means poor fishing. As we wade into the water just enjoying the surf, all of the little bitty bait fish show up to nibble along your legs and toes, the water is clear enough that you can watch them. One time here at this beach I was out swimming and there were a couple of sharks swimming with me, they had black tips on their fins – not too big, but definitely two of them circling in the water not far from me, so I decided that they could have it all to themselves, I was not interested in sharing at that point (water, space, whatever!). Someone more in the ‘know’ about sharks said they were probably a couple of sand sharks…I don’t know. But I do know that there are lots and lots of sharks that live along this coast, so anything is possible for type and variety. However, I am not one to enjoy swimming with the sharks, even though they were not interested in feeding on me as there was plenty of bait fish around, it just makes me a wee bit uncomfortable. Brings me back to the crocodile story…!
Back to the rocks – I have been thinking about bringing my snorkel and fins so that I can go out to see all of the fish around those rocks. But then I am wondering, if I see all of those fish, large small good and bad, maybe this won’t be my favorite swimming beach anymore? LOL (just think, all of that swimming enjoyment and floating around…bring the mask and see everything going on underneath me, unbeknownst to me…would this be a good thing?!) I have always enjoyed snorkeling, but in the past my snorkeling was done without any assistance for my nearsightedness, and so there was much to be seen that I could not see because of that. But NOW, after lasik surgery, I have excellent vision and can see a great distance underwater, and I am anxious to give it a try, I think.
This brings back memories of some of the good ole times when we used to travel to Hawaii, for twenty plus years we were traveling to the Islands with the dream of moving there one day. We especially enjoy the Big Island, and back then it was pretty peaceful and the traffic was not much, not at all like it is today. We thoroughly enjoyed some of the beaches of this Island, especially an out-of-the-way (then) beach community called Puako. We were fortunate enough to stay for a week there at a little beach cottage, right on the beach. This beach is layers of once oozing lava that formed shelves out into the water, each lava shelf dropping off into deeper water and another layer, which moved further out and deeper into other layers of lava shelves until finally you were out into deep water. What a thrill to go snorkeling out there! To observe from the surface the many layers of lava shelves that were home to so many different sea critters – wow! But my eyesight was poor so detail was blurry and some things I missed altogether, as they were pointed out to me by fellow snorkelers. I observed moray eels and surgeon fish and butterfly fish and puffers and all kinds of fish! I did not see any sharks, but we all know that they are the scouts of the reefs and they lurk there ALWAYS, searching for a meal. I was happy not to see any, reef sharks or tigers or even barracuda, which are familiars in that country. It was an amazing experience, for sure, and one that I treasure in my heart – forever. Coming back into the beach from out there in the deeper water was a trick though, dependent upon the surf and the tide. The lava reef had these narrow passages that were kind of tricky, as you had to follow them in and out to actually get out into deeper water, and as the tides were surging, one way or the other, the paths were obscured or choppy, so you had to be quite careful not to get scraped up coming or going – attention required. So one time I am being ushered in on the incoming tide, I had plenty of deep water in my passages for safe travel and my attention was on the reef so that I did not crash into anything…I felt a large presence off to my right…OMG, I glanced over with a surge to my adrenaline, and there was a huge sea turtle swimming next to me watching me maneuver through his native territory! ‘Oh! Hello there…’ as my heart is now racing and pounding, ‘…it is only you!’ This turtle was easily as big as I, a foot or two off of my side and just watching me, we looked each other in the eyes for a few moments and then slowly she meandered off to find something else more interesting. Mate was watching from the shore, giggling (actually, downright howling) as he watched me react, as he had seen the huge turtle moving up towards me and saw my response. What a wonderful day that was! Meeting face to face with a giant sea turtle that had come to inspect me was almost as good as getting water spouted on by a humpback!
This reminds me of when our youngest daughter was living on Molaka’I in the Hawaiian Islands, this island isn’t much more than a huge reef with a small sandy island on top of it (oh yes there is even a volcanic peak on it, however it is pretty small in comparison to the other islands). Anyway, the reef extends out pretty far along the coast and when the tide is out it is possible to go far out onto that reef to fish (as the islanders do), but when the tide comes in it is important to get back to land…so daughter is living along the beach, farming shrimp, and she likes to go down to her favorite mangrove to fish. When the tide is out, she can get into the shallow water and fish. But when the tide is in, there is this local tiger shark that is more than eager and willing to also go ‘fishing’ in that spot…so willing that he easily comes up to the edge of the very shallow water and clearly makes his presence known. Wow! Daughter has watched this big boy from a safe distance and learned to be very careful there, so that SHE did not become a meal for this tiger of the sea.
This brings us back to the pristine beach where this story started and has progressed to: you never know what is swimming around out there in the deep blue, even though you may not be too far out there into that deep blue. The shore is just as active and exciting, especially reef and rocky areas, where there are lots of fish and lots of predator fish. I must have had some serious shark encounters in one of my past lives, because the mere presence of a shark is very intimidating for me (like, duh!), but I enjoy the ocean so much – it is such an ‘other’ world of beauty and mystery, a world of life so unlike our turf side, the nurturing and embracing energy of the Mother with all of her brethren therein. I am not a scuba diver, snorkeling and swimming is good for me, there is an amazing beautiful undersea world right there that is begging to be seen, even if only through a mask with snorkel! (Moral: no fear, just enjoy.)
Of course, picking the right time is essential, as well, as swimming around those kinds of rocks can be treacherous if the tide is not safe. Bouncing off of steep jagged rough rocks is not fun, so timing is everything. But that day is coming soon, the tide and the gear and weather will be all on the same day for us, and we will cast our lines off the rocks, catch some dinner, and enjoy the wonders of this spectacular tropical beach cove, surrounded with coconut palms and aromatic tropical flowers, birds and butterflies, and even the howler monkeys have joined us here to share this wonderful space. Having a fresh coconut, ‘pipa fria’ is what they call it when the machete does its work to carve a hole into the coconut for a straw so that we may enjoy the nutritious coconut water, and then eat the coconut meat, great perks of the perfect tropical beach setting.
It’s all good, the water is absolutely soul refreshing and makes me giggle and happy for at least the rest of the day! Who could ask for anything more? Okay, maybe fresh caught fish for dinner? I can do that.