Herman Melville. Ernest Hemingway. Daniel Defoe. Tammie Painter. What do we all have in common? Until recently, only a desire to put pen to paper. But now I can join the ranks of these esteemed authors with my own tale of man versus nature, the dangers of the ocean, and being stranded at sea.
The story begins with booking a trip to Molokini Crater. This partially submerged volcanic crater that blew its top about 230,000 years ago sits off the Maui coast and is a popular snorkel spot. The inner portion of the crater is (relatively) calm and safe, but if you dare to go around to the back side of the crater the strong currents will whisk you off to Tahiti (and not in a good way).
Mr Husband and I took the trip with Four Winds last time we were in Maui with no problem…well, there is the problem that you have to get up at 5:00am to catch the boat. Still, we really enjoyed the crew we sailed with (and I enjoyed the unlimited “free” beer once I was done snorkeling), so we signed up with them again this time. On the fateful day, we showed up to the dock, climbed onboard, and set off in our little boat for the hour-long journey to the crater.
Breakfast was served, my mind was rejuvenated with some coffee, and, despite the strong winds, the boat was chugging along toward the crater. Mr Husband and I decided to wander around the vessel a bit. It was then we started noticing the boat wasn’t heading directly to the crater and it was heading there very slowly. First thought was that Captain Dan was correcting for the wind, but when you see a crew member go running up to the captain, some whispering taking place, and then the captain leaving the helm you get curious.
Or at least I do. I followed the captain back into the main cabin (okay, the ONLY cabin) and was walloped with the smell of burnt rubber. The Gilligan’s Island theme song started dancing through my head.
And before you think that perhaps a certain monster was trying his paw at engine “maintenance” (since his career as a dentist was far too dangerous), do know that Finn McSpool decided since 1) there was too large a chance of getting sopping wet, 2) he might be swept out to sea, and 3) he would have to get up far too early to make the boat, he opted to stay behind and catch up on his reading.
Turns out a gasket-y type thing had gotten fried and the boat was running on only one engine. After some attempts at repairing the problem (I think bubble gum and duct tape may have been mentioned), the captain made the call that, with the winds, the remaining engine would be working too hard and he would have to return to harbor.
It was a very treacherous trip – parents were clutching their children assuring them it would be okay, husbands were telling wives they would stay with the ship if there wasn’t room in the lifeboats, a string quartet began to play, third-class passengers were trapped below decks. No, wait, sorry, that was Titanic. My mistake.
The trip back was nothing more than slow. The only tragedy was when a man went up to the bar and asked if he could at least have a beer. When the server said they couldn’t serve any alcohol yet, he turned around in a huff and muttered, “Well, I guess I’m just not going to have ANY fun today.” Geez, dude.
They had however already cooked the food for lunch and Mr Husband and I snagged a huge bag of pulled pork and grilled chicken (and with Maui food prices, that’s a HUGE score).
Braving the Seas Once More
Despite the trauma we suffered from being stranded at sea, we rebooked the tour for a few days later. This time, the boat managed to keep running. Better yet, the winds were super calm and we got a rare trip around the back side of the crater (which looks a lot like the front side, to tell the truth).
The moment the anchor was dropped, Mr Husband and I were in the water. And that’s when you remember that snorkeling at Molokini is more about the novelty of snorkeling inside a crater. Despite Wikipedia’s claim that there are over 250 species of fish in the crater, they must be hiding because the variety of fish you see is pretty slim. There are gobs of these big black fish that sport glowing blue neon stripes along their fins.
There’s this grumpy looking guy (maybe he didn’t get a beer?)…
Getting closer to the crater itself, you might see some bright spots amongst the coral…
And then there’s some very weird creatures bobbing along the surface….
After a few hours in the water, it was time to get out, dry off, eat some lunch, and see how many “free” beers I could consume before we made it back to port.
What about you? Any harrowing tales from the sea? Or maybe you slipped in the bathtub once? I’d love to hear about your water-based woes, so be sure to leave a comment. I’ll be back next week with Finn’s final installment (maybe) from Maui, and next Wednesday, as usual, it’s all about books! See you then.
The Maze: Book Three of The Osteria Chronicles is now available for a special pre-order price of $0.99 for e-books and $10 for print books AND I’ve made it easy for you to jump into the series with discounts on the first book (The Trials of Hercules). For full details, please visit this post. You can also read a few sample chapters from The Maze (PDF)