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!
+ read more of Bree Wee's post
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 :)