Eric Lee is The Snorkel Store’s resident waterman. These stories describe a few of his many adventures in Maui.
I awoke at 6:15 one winter morning in Maui and decided to check out the snorkeling conditions at one of my favorite secret beach spots. Unfortunately, the waves were too high that day so I switched my plans to do a little swimming and body surfing.
While hiking down to the beach—to my horror—I was greeted by a slew of trash left over from some kind of party the night before.
This is not what I’d expected for my morning at one of the most beautiful snorkel spots in the world.
I had my snorkel fins with me so I flipped them upside down and used them as a trashcan—collecting the paper wrappers that littered the small beach.
Covering the coastline fairly quickly, I got to the far side of the bay when I spied something green, and oddly familiar: DOLLAR BILLS!
When I collected the crumpled greenbacks, which were quivering like leaves on a sidewalk, I’d found a whopping total of $49.00.
I looked around to see if anyone else was on the beach, but my only companions were a few birds and the invisible ocean life beneath the Maui surf.
I placed the cash in my snorkel fin with the trash, and bounded into the ocean for a quick swim before my work shift an hour later. I left the beach that day with a warm feeling in my heart—and a cool $49 bucks in my pocket.
Malama da aina is a Hawaiian term that roughly means, “protect the earth”. That early morning in Maui, I learned the meaning of this phrase I’d spoken dozens of times before in a more rich way.