Friday, May 21, 2010

Snorkeling from the beach, Lydgate Park, Kauai

Pix to follow.

Date of this event: 15 April, 2010
In my last post about snorkeling, I said that rough waves had bounced me around when I was snorkeling from a boat along the Na Pali Coast of Kauai. After that Dottie had said that we (that is, I) wouldn’t snorkel from a boat again. She noticed a beach close to our condo in Kapa’a that was supposed to be a good spot for beginning snorkelers like myself. It was Lydgate Beach, which was only a little over a mile from our condo.

Lydgate Beach is situated on the east coast of Kauai. When we went there, heavy waves pound the shore. Flags warned that entering the water was dangerous. A great feature of Lydgate Beach, however, is its pond, which was created several decades ago after a resident of Kauai went to Italy and saw such a lagoon protecting bathers there. The lagoon is about 50 yards by 40. It reaches a depth of 4 to 5 feet. With the breakers rolling in, I was glad for the large rock barrier between us and the ocean.

On Maui, I had learned that you back into the water, so I had that down pat. As soon as I had the fins, the vest, and the mask and tube on, I backed in, lost my balance in the slightly undulating waves, and splashed down. Hmm, even protected snorkeling pools can throw you. Up again. And down again. Like the Japanese proverb, “Fall seven times, get up eight.” Finally, taking very small little tiny teensy weensy steps, I made it into the deeper water. But even so, I struggled a number of times to keep my balance.

Inside the pond are many beautiful fish. I didn’t see any coral, but I imagine that it would have trouble growing there. One of the fish was about twelve to sixteen inches long, eight to ten inches high, and perhaps four inches from side to side. Its mouth was a big smile like a clown’s face. The fish was blue and yellow with some darker stripes (I don’t do colors much, because I’m color blind) running from tail to close to the mouth. It had tiny, almost transparent yellow fins that fluttered in the water. Another fish about the same size had dark vertical stripes running most of the length of its body. I didn't see either of these fish on the chart of fish in the park or on the waterproof guide back at the resort.

Waves boomed on the outer rocks and gushed through the openings among the boulders. Snorkeling close to them was fun, but bouncy. Great clouds of tiny bubbles poured into the pond near the rocks, making it hard to see fish, but they were interesting to see just for themselves.

The next day we drove back, because I had not taken a photo of the plaque memorializing the creator of the lagoon. Or of the pond itself. The sky was overcast, the wind was up, the waves lined up to thunder against the shore. A couple strolled hand-in-hand in front of us. I could have had lagoon to myself.

© J. Russell Burck, 2010

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