I just returned from Hawaii on Tuesday and had a wonderful week away with my family.  Thank you so much to our wonderful church staff, lay leaders, and Rev. Cheryl Caronna for holding down the fort while I was on vacation!  In 2020 my parents are celebrating their 45th Anniversary and my sister and brother-in-law their 5th, plus my mother’s birthday is in February so we’ve been planning this trip to Hawaii for several years.  Visiting Oahu and Maui was our last big family vacation before Maureen went off to college at Syracuse in 2001.  So, our family’s return trip to Hawaii finally happened and was incredible.

One experience to share involves Hawaiian Sea Turtles.  Maureen and Scott got a tip from the man who drove them from Honolulu to Aulani (where we stayed in Ko Olina) to check out a local beach.  He explained that the beach is called Secret Beach and it’s a favorite spot for locals.  To find the beach, you trespass through a parking lot (there are no trespassing signs everywhere) and look for a chain link fence with an opening and a path.  (This doesn’t sound sketchy at all, right?)  You follow the path covered in palm trees overhead and eventually land on a beautiful beach! 

At high tide sea turtles take a break from the intense churning ocean and come into the sheltered waters of Secret Beach.  You can hopefully see the differences in the water from the picture I took above.  The water is calm and shallow closer to the beach and turbulent and much deeper the further out you look toward the mountain beyond the palm trees.  Anyway, this was the spot where we could possibly swim with sea turtles (and for free!)

We ended up doing this twice.  The first time we swam with a sea turtle who only has 3 flippers (a local legend we found out later!)  And the second time (when we had snorkels) we swam with 4 or 5.  There are signs everywhere that sea turtles are protected so you are not to touch or feed them.  There was one turtle under me that I thought was a rock at first and the turtle came so close I had to stay completely still to not allow the turtle to brush against me.  It was amazing!  So swimming with the sea turtles at Secret Beach got me thinking about the wonders of God’s creation, how graceful sea turtles are when they are resting from chaotic waters, and how nice it is to talk to locals when you travel to find unique places off the beaten path.  Sometimes you just can’t predict what adventures may lie ahead.

Love,
Pastor Lauren 

(This Week’s Thoughts 2.13.20)