50 Strokes To Underwater Heaven – A Kona Snorkle Story

Magic Sands Kona
Have you ever said to yourself, “If I don’t do this now, I won’t do it later?” That happened to me today while I was bike riding on Ali’i Drive this morning and passed Magic Sands. The sand was perfect, the surf calm and the reflection of the clouds on the ocean, surreal. I knew I had to get into the ocean today.

The Ocean Will Always Be There – Right?

One thing about living in Hawaii is that as resident’s we believe that the ocean will always be there to play in. And then we don’t go in. I am guilty of this, especially in the winter months when the water is chilly. Come about March the ocean temps go up a bit and getting into the ocean also has a reward of sometimes being able to hear the whales singing if you dive down a bit and listen.
The last three weeks have been a bit nuts with the Spring Break crowds on island acting a bit like colts let out of the stables on their first day of spring. (A pandemic will do that to people, ya know!) Magic Sands has been the “go to” spot for the young people on break and hence has been not only busy with people, but still recovering from losing much of its sand due to some high wave events this winter.

Today Was The Day To Jump In

Today, there were five people in the water and the sand was back in all of its soft white squeaky glory. It was 8 am on a Tuesday and the entire scene was beckoning me to come and enjoy. I just happened to have a bikini, slippahs, a sarong and a snorkel mask in my car. (If you live here, a sandy trunk with beach chairs and gear is a must!) But I had a phone meeting with my stock broker to catch soon and that tugging feeling of responsibility was niggling at me. Decisions, decisions.
And in that moment, I said to myself, “You know how much you hate it when you see the calm water and tell yourself you’ll go home and get your suit and come right back..and then you don’t? For weeks?” Carpe Diem.
I changed in the parking lot in that unabashed way you can do when you are in your mid-fifties and don’t really care if someone camping in the bushes gets a thrill. I rushed off to the beach, dumped my things next to a palm tree, and headed into the water. Chilly at first, I knew that once I was in, I only had to swim 50 strokes and I would acclimate to the temperature. So, I dove in and headed to the reef in front of Magic’s Grill.

Snorkeling in a TechniColor Aquarium

Once there, I floated in utter happiness and awe. There were juvenile blue Skip Jack’s practicing their menacing patrol of the reef while dozens of Yellow Tang merrily floated in the gentle swell of the waves. Looking deeper into the water, I could see schools of Convict Tang, their stripes helping them blend into the dark lava reef with the sunlight catching their soft yellow stripes.
I swam another 5o strokes, the guilty feeling of my stock broker calling and me not answering the phone because I got a bug to go jump into the ocean instead. I let that gnaw at me for a few moments before realizing that life is short. The investment of my time in that moment was worth just as much as my retirement investment. And then the school of needle fish swam by along with the trumpet fish. The call could wait. Life could wait. Because at that moment, I was floating free and giving gratitude for the soft swell, the abundant ocean life with its riot of colors amid a blue background on top of a black lava shelf.

Underwater Sand Haboob

I headed towards shore by way of the area right behind where the surf was stirring up the sand. As I propelled myself along in about three feet of water, the sand was being swirled around like a Haboob in the desert hitting the sand dunes. It was a moving art show of nature. Again, I was happy that the stock broker was on hold for a few more minutes.


As I emerged from my unexpected underwater adventure, I looked up to see the older men standing around talking like old friends meeting daily at their favorite park. The feeling of the realization that “I LIVE HERE” came with all the gratitude, wonder and knowledge of how hard I have worked to make this life happen for myself and my family. We are celebrating our 16th year of first landing on this gorgeous island with its thrumming energy this week. It still feels so good.
Would you like to read about our first year living in Kona? I wrote about that adventure with my family! Get the hard copy for your beach reading at “One Year, Two Kids, 800 Square Feet-Adventures of a Small Family on the Big Island of Hawaii.” 

Our first time to Magic’s – April 2005

I told my investment manager, Michael Hogan, about this story and he said to let you know about him if you are looking to invest so you can retire here some day!

Spread the word if you love what you heard! #365kona so we can say Thanks!

Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at 365Kona.com and MoveToHawaii365.com and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

Leave a Question or Comment About this Topic

  • Mandy Correll says:

    I hope I will have the pleasure of meeting you in person, Julie. Been living here for a year now and I appreciate all the videos you posted. It has helped us tremendously. Thank you and blessings!