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Outdoor writing runner-up: Divine to the Ear

Kailey Johnson (Mead, Jr.)
Kailey Johnson (Mead, Jr.)
Kailey Johnson Mead High School, junior

Nine Hawaiian days spent on Maui with my best friend Morghan and her mom were filled with sunshine, salt, sand, smoothies and smiles that got carried away with the wind every night as the sun fell.

Mornings started with a not too hot, not too cold shower, followed by a breakfast filled with fresh fruits beneath the palm trees and a swift song of the tropical birds letting me know that it was quite alright to share any extra food with them. Some days we went to Kaanapali and browsed the shops for souvenirs and on others we would go to the bay, watch for whales and eat on the beach.

One day in paradise we decided to cross something off of our bucket lists. This day was unlike the rest; we didn’t take that nice shower and eat that nice breakfast and soak up the sun. We woke at 5 a.m. and drove and drove, listening to Siri direct us left and right around the island to reach our destination. Upon arrival in our cream-colored sedan, we eyed the guide.

He didn’t quite look the same as the rest. He looked as if he was a surfer boy from California, not Hawaii. His long blonde hair and blue eyes gave him the “surfer dude” look. As we trekked across the road to shake his hand, the sandy kayaks were laid upon the shore.

“Hello ladies, my name is Jake, and I will be your guide today. Thank you for being on time. I cannot wait to have a good time on and in the water today.”

He reassured us that he has lived on Maui for nine years and he kayaks and snorkels daily. He guided us down the sandy trail filled with tropical flowers and little sand crabs. We picked our kayaks.

Where the sand meets the quick brush of sea salt upon my toes, I helplessly enter Mother Nature’s most powerful force. I somehow manage to mount on my kayak without tipping it and plunging into the warm bay. We paddle to where we can no longer see the ocean floor; all we can see is pure darkness beneath.

No talking or sounds break the silence, except for an occasional wisp of the ocean against my kayak, until Jake disturbs the peace.

“Are you ladies ready to snorkel?”

We stroke the water until we reach a bay decorated with vibrant colors and many walks of sea life. We anchor our kayaks to Jake’s. I throw one leg over the side of my kayak hoping I can keep my balance and slide over the side. Apparently that’s not how getting off a kayak works. Unstable, I gracelessly flop head first into the water. It gives everyone a good laugh.

We float around seeing turtles, manta rays, sea anemones, and, of course, bottle nose fish. Before it could get any better, Jake pauses under the water and pops back up with a smile. He gives us instructions to simply place our whole head under the water with our ears fully submerged.

The silence is still, and for that moment under the water I can hear the singing like a song of the sea – the tune of the monstrous whales migrating.

The whales are not spotted by the eye, but with the ear, very much so. The soft sounds are almost a humming, with a distinct difference as if the whales are singing for the whole ocean to know they are coming.

The singing is absolutely the most peaceful sound I have ever heard. Whales look so dangerous, but when that fact is put aside, they are the most beautiful sounding creatures in the sea.

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