Whale watching and swimming with sharks

I love January in Maui.  The air is a little cooler...only by a few degrees, but very noticeable to us!  We have occasional rain that keeps the earth fresh and the plants happy.  It's also when the humpback whales arrive on the south shores of the island with their young.  Last week I went whale watching with my love.  Whale watching by kayak is an amazing experience.  There is a quiet, stillness you experience out on the water.  We sit patiently and wait for the whales to appear, and all of a sudden about 20 yards from our boats a 40 ton creature rises out of the water.  Each time they rise above the surface of the ocean I feel a sense of peace within.  They are peaceful, gentle creatures.  The young whales splash and play and the mothers stay close to protect their young.  Occasionally, you will hear their songs and grunts above the water.  I am grateful to have experienced this.  Garret was out on a trip a couple of days ago and a young whale came right up to his boat and circled it a few times to check him out.  So cool!  The youngsters are very curious creatures. After we went whale watching for a couple hours it was time to take a dip in the crystal clear waters.  We went to the turtle cleaning station where the little fish eat algae off of the turtles shells.  We checked out the turtles for a while then headed off through the coral gardens.  I love snorkeling through this section because you feel like you're swimming through underwater canyons surrounded by wildlife with pristine white sand at the bottom.  We reached the end of the canyon and Garret stopped me and pointed to the other side of the coral.  There was a white tip reef shark resting in the sand.  I was a little nervous at first, but nothing happened.  White tip reef sharks are docile.  They won't attack humans unless they are provoked.  We hovered above the shark and admired its beauty.  He just chilled in his spot not really caring much about us. After we observed him for a few minutes we decided we better give him some peace, so we slowly swam back to our kayaks.  I never thought I would ever swim with sharks in my lifetime nor did I think I would swim with them fearlessly.  It was a very empowering and awe inspiring experience.  Go outside and be with nature, and push yourself to do things you've never done before.  There is a beautiful world out there to experience.  As a photographer, I sit in front of the computer a lot. I really need to make an effort to get outside and breathe the fresh air.  I am always renewed after an adventure in the outdoors. :)

Below are a couple of photos I shot with my iPhone.  I don't have an underwater camera yet, but am determined to have one eventually!  Hopefully next time I'll be posting photos of the whales underwater! :)

Maui No Ka Oi-1
Maui No Ka Oi-2