Aside from the sound of shrimp crackling around the coral, the occasional flutter of fins or bubbles escaping to the surface, silence abounds in the sea.
My natural curiosity to explore places unknown or unfamiliar has led me to the Pacific. My desire for serenity keeps me going back for more.
And so it was on a late Thursday afternoon that we found ourselves on the shoreline of Koloa Landing. After studying the water and watching a few turtles snag some air before plunging back down to feed on the abundant algae, I suited up for a free-dive to remember.
Working my way off the coast to deeper depths, visibility improved to reveal beds of coral, schools of manini and pairs of Moorish idols, perhaps my favorite fish (although not because of Scar in “Finding Nemo”).
The reef was surprisingly vibrant and the familiar species that frequent the other popular South Shore dive sites were notably bigger and more abundant.
It was amid these observations, and fiddling with settings on an underwater camera, that I saw something I’ve never seen before in the wild.
As a few ornate butterflyfish swam around a huge chunk of brain coral and damselfish danced in some antler coral, I noticed a small creature on the ocean floor flickering between shades of brown and silver faster than you could flip a light switch on and off.
Taking a few big breaths, I dove down 20 feet or so for a better look. As I approached, the critter revealed itself to be an octopus. Eight legs flowed out from its sides as it landed on a patch of coarse sand. A moment later, the tako became a black blob streamlining toward a shelf of coral. Then within seconds, he was tucked into a tiny puka – camouflaged to perfection.
The whole event was over within minutes. But this new memory will last me a lifetime. My first swim with an octopus. What other adventures await?
All this free entertainment was made possible by simply deciding to go take advantage of everything Kaua‘i has to offer, which is a lot – a whole lot.
It’s easy to be lured in by the hum of the neon lights or the chatter of a sitcom rerun. And while those outlets certainly have their time and place in temporarily escaping the stresses of work or some of the hard realities of life, there’s a true sense of peace to be experienced in nature if you give it an honest shot.