As a passionate soul, I’m inspired each day more and more by those in the stand up paddle community, and their desire to not only paddle but to live out a purpose. As I travel the globe with BiC SUP, I continue to be amazed by the men and women I come across with passions far beyond just getting on the water. This is a story of one woman I recently came across who passionately paddles her waters… with scissors.
Meet “Maui Miranda”. Better known as Miranda Camp… A vivacious and bubbly woman who lives for adventure on the beautiful south shores of Maui, Hawaii. This tiny wahine and mom of two kids in their twenties (though you wouldn’t know it by looking at her petite svelte body – guess that’s what the salty Hawaiian air does for you) moved to Maui 17 years ago out of her sheer love for water and the island. This passionate Maui adventure seeker began her trek all across the island and found her purpose in sharing her love of hikes, nature, snorkeling, and stand up paddling with those visiting the island. At first, she would freely give of herself and her time showing people all the hidden gems of Maui, apart from just the Luaus. Eventually, a friend would help her develop her guide business known as Maui Mana Adventures and Miranda was in the business of fun and teaching people how to have it!
Upon my trek to Maui, I had a dream. A dream to paddle with whales. I had seen it done, and had paddled with everything underwater but a whale. Dolphins, sea turtles, seals, sea lions, and even 50+ jellyfish had been under my board at one time, but never a whale. My internet detective work led me to Maui Mana Adventures and I inquired of her about making my dream of paddling with whales come true. She was honest but fair, and told me that since it was almost May, the whales were mostly gone at this point, but on the rare occasion we could see one. I would take my chances.
On just another day in sunny tropical paradise, I met Miranda at the South Shores of Kihei, Maui and immediately I could feel her energy was contagious as the water was blue…deep blue. We saddled up the SUPs complete with snorkels (and scissors, more on that later) and headed out into an expansive bay. As we paddled out on top of crystal clear waters, with endless reefs beneath us, my endorphins shot up, and I could feel energy scourging through my veins, even with only one cup of coffee that morning.
This was not artificial energy, this was the feeling that something big was about to happen. I could feel it. Miranda and I paddled out for awhile chatting about all things SUP and nature, and learned each other’s ins and outs, and talking of whales and dolphins, my two favorite animals, as any true mermaid would vouch. Miranda, also a mermaid (unbeknownst to her until I informed her) had seen and experienced her fair share of whale encounters in Maui, and astounded me with her knowledge of where we would find them, how they interact, and what they like from us. As we chatted, we scanned the horizon in hopes of making my dream come true.
Then it happened. I spotted something. “Dolphins!” I shouted to Miranda, and pointed. We made our way towards them in excitement. “We don’t always see them here,” Miranda exclaimed. “They must have known you were coming.”
After a while we noticed they were still far off and moving away from us and we stopped paddling for a moment and watched. Suddenly Miranda’s voice became high and excited, “Jodelle, one of those is not a dolphin.” I knew what she meant, and my energy wanted to bust through my veins.”
“Paddle, Jodelle, you are gonna see a whale!” We stroked mightily and headed towards them. As we neared them, with only half a football field away, they disappeared beneath the surface. We stood still for a moment, now 2 miles out to sea and watched the calm waters in search of a fin, a ripple, a wave, anything that indicated life. Nothing. Just stillness.
“Let’s sit and meditate here,” I beckoned Miranda. “I feel meditation really resonates with animals.” So we sat for just a moment, before Miranda pondered out loud, “I wonder where they went?” Suddenly within 15 feet of Maui Miranda’s SUP, the nose of a baby humpback whale erupted through the surface of the water, and our screams of excitement erupted as well. From there, we watched as the mother surfaced with her baby and began to crest her beautiful black body across the water in elegant and quite spiritual movements.
Here is the video:
Tears stung my eyes, as these blue eyes took in the dream come true of being next to one of the most amazing creatures on the planet. What a rare and unique experience to be a part of! As a woman pursuing newborn adoption, and anxious to become a mother, this divine encounter was confirmation that my Creator was showing me that my time will come when I too will travel gracefully through the waters of life with my baby by my side.
Miranda beamed and encouraged me to keep paddling as we followed the dolphins and the whales for a while longer. My amazement and excitement became hers as well, as she knew how special this moment was for me. Following the pod of dolphins kept us within close proximity to the whales even when they seemed to disappear. At one point, we jumped in the water with our snorkels to see the dolphins dance and play beneath the surface and I actually heard the song of the whale in the distance. At another moment, we sat still and quiet on our SUPs and listened to the complete calm in the air, with only the occasional “poof ” of a whale’s spout around us, creating the most blissful sound to ever grace my ears.
Finally after a couple hours of following these majestic creatures, we headed back in towards shore.
On our way, Miranda shared with me the many astonishing encounters she had observed with whales, and other sea creatures. As an Environmental Educator for the Hawaii Nature Center and a Naturalist for the Maui Ocean Center, this woman truly had a heart for the sea and all the life that lived it in. Notably, sea turtles. For Miranda never sets out on her SUP without scissors in her yellow, zippered pouch. These scissors, I found out, are destined to be life-saving devices for sea turtles who are tangled with fishing line. Line entanglement around flippers, head or neck is the greatest threat to these endangered beings. If left tangled, the fishing line can amputate the flipper of the turtle, or even cause death. On many, awe-inspiring occasions, Maui Miranda has come across tangled up turtles, pulled out her scissors, and gently freed them. The girl who stand up paddles with scissors saves the day.
That’s not all she saves though. At one point, I dropped my earring which ironically looks like a seashell, and Miranda tossed on her mask and snorkel and within 30 seconds, recovered my earring back into my hand. I stood amazed once again.
I learned more of her vast sea life knowledge as we paddled to an enormous reef and sank below the surface with snorkels, swimming like mermaids and enjoying the deep. We saw the Hawaii state fish, the “Humuhumunukunukuapua’a” (say that 5 time fast), a porcupine puffer fish, sea urchins, and I learned of Miranda’s vast knowledge of each one as we encountered them. This girl has certainly done her homework.
Eventually we meandered back to shore, and I hugged my new friend and drove away, but with each day since then I can’t help but feel forever connected to her for the experience we shared together.
Yet this experience is not just for me. You can have it too. Maui is saturated with adventure just waiting to be discovered whether in the water or on land, and if you are seeking it, Miranda of Maui Mana Adventures will help you find it. Whether you are a gentle soul looking for a leisurely Stand up paddle session, or a thrill-seeker looking for a treacherous hike to a gorgeous view, Miranda will take you places you have never been, but always wanted to go. If my SUP dream come true wasn’t enough to convince you, just read the reviews on her website and find out what everyone is saying about her. Bring your camera, or not, because she will have hers. Bring your snorkel or not, because she will have one for you. Bring your own SUP, or not, as she has that too. And bring your own scissors, or don’t, because I know she won’t be forgetting those either. The gal has a passion, a purpose, and creates pleasure for a living and for the living. A trip to Maui is not complete without Maui Miranda.[box type=”note”] Special Note: Thank you, Miranda for making my wildest SUP dream come true. I will forever treasure the memory that you helped co-create of paddling next to a whale. Your enthusiasm and sheer, contagious happiness infected my soul and made for an experience of a lifetime. Your love for the undersea world is immense and heartfelt and I admire that in you. Thank you for caring for our friends, the sea turtles like you do, and may you blessed for all the many turtle lives you have saved. And finally, You are “Whally” cool. Just had to add that pun.[/box]
With Love as big as the sea,
For more information on Maui Mana Adventures and Miranda Camp, visit: http://mauimanaadventures.com
Written by: Jodelle Fitzwater, BiC SUP Professional, Fitness Trainer, and Team Rider www.getfitwithjodelle.com[author image=”http://standupjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Jodelle-Fitzwater1.jpg”>Jodelle Fitzwater "Jodelle Fitzwater is the Midwest Ambassador for BiC SUP and Certified Fitness Trainer for SUP TV. She is also a self-proclaimed mermaid because she has no fear of depth and a great fear of shallow living. Find her instructional fitness videos by visiting SUP TV on YouTube and by visiting www.getfitwithjodelle.com "liking” on Get Fit With Jodelle on Facebook.” [/author]