Create a Safety Wall

On our recent trip to Kauai, we went snorkeling twice. We asked around for recommendations and chose two locations: Anini Beach and Lydgate Beach Park.

We started near Anini, though I don’t think we found the recommended spot. The guys eagerly swam away. It’s been a long time since I’ve snorkeled, so I moved slower, with trepidation.

It didn’t go well. My mask fogged up. My hair floated in front of my face. I tried two snorkels and both had me inhaling mouthfuls of salt water. I gave up, opting to soak up the sun while stretched out on a massive driftwood log.

We tried again at Lydgate on another day. Lydgate is special, a beach park. They’ve built a rock wall around a portion of the beach, creating an artificial reef that allows fish to come in with the waves while offering protection for children and inexperienced snorkelers. The bottom is soft sand, the water just deep enough that I could find my footing to breach the surface and expel the water still getting into my snorkel every six breaths or so.

Snorkeling at Lydgate felt like swimming in the most incredible aquarium with fish galore, from teensy white fish smaller than my pinky fingernail to a large school of bright blue fish that looked like Nemo’s friend Dory. If there was something like it nearby, I’d be there several times a week.

I felt safe at Lydgate in a way that I didn’t on our first try. Of course I had learned a few things from the first experience: I put my hair up, and I spit in my mask to keep it from fogging. The wall, however, made all the difference. Waves still crested, obscuring my sight, yet the tiny bubbles caressed my face like kisses from the ocean.

Sometimes we need a safety wall in other parts of life. For example, boundaries we establish for a time (or forever) with activities or people who make us feel unsafe. Or asking for help from people who can encourage us and give us the space we need.

Before I had kids of my own, I read a nonfiction book about how children benefit from being in the wilderness. One of the first chapters offered a surprising truth: if you give children no boundaries, they will stick close to home. But if you establish parameters, like a fence, they will explore the entire space. In my experience, that applies to many of us long past childhood.

Snorkeling at Lydgate thrilled me. It brought me so much joy to experience underwater life at close proximity. I just needed that barrier wall to help me feel safe.

What can you do to create a safety wall for yourself? Or how can you provide a safe space for someone else? When we feel safe, we can stretch out into new and joy-filled experiences.

Images from Pixabay

4 thoughts on “Create a Safety Wall

  1. I hear you Siv. I am not a big fan of snorkling either which is why I was not running to the nearest rental hut to get snorkling gear on our latest trip. But…we had scheduled a 4 hour boat cruise to see the Napali coast and that included a stop at a nice snorkling spot. Boat was anchored. All 14 boaters jumped off incuding my 3 men. I sat inside staring at my fear. Growing up on the beach like literally on the beach in th 70s and 80s meant the Jaws theme song played in my head everytime a dark shadow passed me in the ocean. Captain of the ship came over to me and said…so you aren’t going to snorkle? me- I’m just warming up to the idea. Then I took a deep breath and jumped in and found my little school of fish. 1 had on grey trunks. 1 had on floral trunks. The other had on blue trunks. Most beautiful fishies I had ever seen. lol. I felt safer knowing they were close by. Only heard the Jaws theme song once and managed to stay in long enough to see sea turtles and some other colorful fish as well.

    1. Not sure how I missed your comment, Tracey… I actually love snorkeling if the equipment works & I can feel safe enough. I’m no longer uber-confident in my swimming skills since I haven’t had opportunity to swim regularly, so that’s a factor. I don’t hear the Jaws theme (not sure if I’ve ever seen the movie start to finish?), but I didn’t love the eels that popped out of their hidey-holes last time we were in Hawaii. Sidenote: Q&I had a fantastic time snorkeling while D&C went scuba diving 8yrs ago in Costa Rica. We saw sharks but they looked tiny; turns out they were 8′ sharks on the ocean floor while we were at the top & water warps perception – yikes! Glad they weren’t interested in a mid-day snack!

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