A tingle of excitement running up and down my spine accompanied our drive at the crack of dawn to the harbor in Maalaea. I’d been snorkeling before, but had never traveled in a speedy diesel-powered catamaran.

Whereas on previous excursions there’d been 135 people aboard our adventure-bound watercraft, this smaller and faster boat contained just 38 eager swimmers this crystal-blue beautiful morning.

Calling to the Hawaiian gods of safe passage, our crew blew on conch shells as we left the harbor. A prerecorded chant echoed eerily out across the water. A few bottlenose dolphins made an appearance, and we detoured to take a closer look.

But soon we were at Molokini, which is a partially submerged, crescent-shaped volcano that imploded a very long time ago and created a great dive and snorkel site, full of amazing tropical fish. And boats full of snorkelers.

The water was pretty choppy, lifting my body up and down quite a distance as I happily paddled around, amazed at being up close and personal with so many varieties of fish. Optical snorkel masks allow us nearsighted people to see as clear as can be.

When I began swimming back toward the boat, it felt like it was all uphill, and had to reach deep into my energy reserves. Trying to take off my fins and climb the ladder while the boat heaved with the waves was another interesting challenge.

The second dive site was less demanding, although not flat-calm, and afforded the opportunity to paddle to and fro along the coral reef and stay close to the boat. Although I go to the pool often, navigating the Pacific Ocean requires a whole different skill set.

Exhausted, but very happy, I eagerly noshed down the burgers barbecued for us on the back deck before I thought to take a photo. They were quite delicious—you’ll just have to take my word for it!

Aloha! Stay tuned!