Thursday, June 17, 2010

Deep Blue Long Swim at Manini...

Ahh the beautiful, world famous Kealakekua Bay, home of little Manini Beach & on the other side the landing spot of Captain Cook. The history would take forever to tell and the wonders of that bay and all that has happened there (and some things that still happen) are just mysteries galore. However....there is one tiny Hawaiian legend (or possibly truth) that lingers in my head when I am there and today it was choking me.
Back in the day (the time I taught 4th graders Hawaiian Studies) we had to read this Hawaiian History book, for some families it was like a Bible, total truth, live and die by it. Others believed, others ignored, and others claim it as nonfiction. I'm stuck in the "could have happened", "seen photos", "locals that lived years ago tell me stories of their youth here that relate", yeah, that's where I stand on it all, call me a believer.
That above photo is standing at Manini looking out at Kealakekua Bay. The 2.3 mile loop (there and back) that we swam today. It's a dolphin filled bay, jelly fish at times, who knows-maybe even sharks, and of course some waves, currents, chop, things like that...
This was our crew. Hillary Biscay-an Ironman Champ and usual swim leader, 2 master swimmers record holders, 2 moms, 2 college students home from break who can swim, and a former swim coach. It wasn't a cruise pace but not an open water swim race either, it was more of a go when you can, hold on when you have to, and make it if you get left behind. Thankfully I hung on fine and dandy across the Bay. It gets so deep you dont see a darn thing! Its nothing like swimming at Kona Pier or Kailua Bay...nothing.
On the way back, a different story. 3 of the girls decide to go diving off a friends boat and the rest of us go back hanging onto Hillary's feet (if you could). Jim and I fell of the back a little and decided to take the loop through the middle of the bay, the deepest darkest part. I ran into dolphins, literally, lost Jim and all of a sudden was alone with the old stories I had to teach about that bay. The story in my mind was the one of survival. The story goes....if you messed up (the kinds of mess ups people did hundreds of years ago in Hawaii) you had to swim from Kona to this bay, if you made it you would be forgiven and could come back. If you dont make it nobody cared and good-you die the death you deserve. Well, not many ever made it. Those caves and high mountain side walls surrounding the bay are filled with bones (no lie, its a burial ground too).
When I was alone in the deepest, darkest part, where you cant see bottom and you are in the exact middle (far from any shore and nobody could hear if you scream for help) I was imagining me having to swim that swim of survival, alone. You know when your mind starts to play tricks on you because you entertain any bad thought?? Well, I thought I saw a shark fin so I could not stop thinking sharks were all around me, then I was so scared to look down, not that you can see a single thing, I forced myself to look down, then I thought a whale was coming (I know, maybe I was bonking), it was insane all the thoughts lingering. Then I had myself so convinced I would be attacked so I started to think of a positive outcome. You know Bethany Hamilton, the Hawaii surfer girl who was attacked and now surfs professionally with one arm??? Well, I was telling myself when my leg or arm gets bitten off Ill be a pro with one leg or arm missing and still do my sport just like her, then I was thinking how long would I have to get to shore before all the blood spills out? Bad news...
Eventually I got closer and closer to Jim, then to Hillary and the other 2 girls, the other 3 girls behind us were so far back I never saw them, and finally to shore! It was the longest swim of my life, mentally I was talking to me all swim long trying to convince myself I would survive a shark attack!
And the worst part, was my friends laughing.... Wendy already had the headline, "mom in a bikini found floating after shark attack, nobody knows what she was doing out there". But at least I was in a bikini! I won't say names but not all the girls swim in clothes and its totally fine! Back in the day, when you had to swim from Kona, it was naked! I better chill out on the Hawaiian studies because I am freaking myself out on some of this history!!
Finally, I found my dream wetsuit for IM CDA....Blue Seventy, lets get this going! ha ha... Happy training from a sharkless filled bay :)


Blogger Christi said...

Wow, that makes my panic attack in Lake Clinton at Ironman KS seem pretty lame!

June 18, 2010 at 3:47 AM

Blogger Furacán said...

wow! you're brave!
the last picture is ... i have no words! a anti-sharks wetsuit? hahaha
I love your blog! beauty pictures, beauty lands, beauty girls!

June 18, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Blogger ONEHOURIRONMAN said...

Nice wetsuit. I think the double takes by your competitors while swimming should cause a distraction that is good for 15 seconds...

June 18, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Blogger ADC said...

That wetsuit is hillarious.

June 18, 2010 at 8:53 AM

Blogger greyhound said...

Query what odd moment of day or night you would be found in anything other than a bikini.

June 18, 2010 at 9:29 AM

Blogger SkirtChaser said...


June 18, 2010 at 9:36 AM

Blogger tinaparker87 said...

I ha d one of those attacks when my hand hit something and the swim buddy was ahead of me. Horrible feeling, but I kept thinking just swim.

I think the wet suit is a great idea, you wouldn't look like a seal.

Happy training.

June 18, 2010 at 10:03 AM

Blogger Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

I hate when we freak ourselves out! Glad you made it back in one piece. That wetsuit? A little bit scary.

June 18, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Blogger midlife_swimmer said...

I did that swimming over the canyon at lajolla cove because one of the old cronies I was swimming with joked around about how THAT was where all the big sharks were. The next day I had a huge male sea lion come up under me and look me in the face with the biggest doglike head I had ever seen and then whooosh he just took off all sleek. I was able to pick up swims with others there the last two times I traveled there. It was great.

They showed me the best places and some cool wildlife.

I am going to Maui in late Aug with my mom and hope to pick up swims in the warm water. I am kinda slow, a 32 minute mile but would love advice on where to swim and what times are good to pick up in groups or at least with someone else or I may freak myself out like this again. if you have any advice or know of any resources please email me and let me know :)

great account!

June 19, 2010 at 7:44 AM

Blogger Jill Costantino said...

OMG - that is CRAZY! That is NOT a cool feeling especially when you are not near shore. Way to go Momma Chica for surviving! Ah and swimming skinny dipping style - LOVE IT! One more week til your day!

June 19, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Blogger Chad said...

You make me want to move. I live vicariously through your blog.

June 22, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Blogger RAKESH said...

all are too good

February 25, 2011 at 8:53 PM


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