Periods, Snorkels and Sharks in Diamond Head Crater

Snorkeling in Santorini Greece

My longest flight at the time (nearly 15 years ago) was to Hawaii. My mother and I embarked on a getaway to the Big Island in celebration of my birthday and to find some much-needed rest and relaxation. There were many firsts on this trip including my first time snorkeling. My first time learning how to swim was a problem. In fact, no one could teach me except my bro (God rest his soul) who was the only one I trusted in the water. Once I got the hang of it, I was like a little fish in a pool because swimming in the open sea is reserved for big fish only. When I thought I’d become a big fish, I set out for a snorkel adventure that I’d never forget.

We booked a tour and were off to see Diamond Head and snorkel underwater through the canyons, tunnels, and coral reef. I love the water for its calming properties but in no way did I feel calm when it came time to jump off the boat with the rest of the crew. I’m used to swimming in clear water. I glanced at my mom (who never intended to get off the boat) as she nodded as if to say don’t turn back now. There were a bazillion thoughts running through my head. First of all, I had terrible cramps that popped up thanks to the long flight. And, if that weren’t enough, my period came right behind them (several weeks ahead of schedule), thanks again to the long flight. I’d come too far and paid too much for the snorkel adventure to let something so small as mother nature stop me from seeing what was meant to see! Besides, this wasn’t a “real” period. This was drama from that long ass flight. Now, normally I wouldn’t go into such depth about my period, but it is the moral of the story.

So, finally, I’m relaxed among the abyss. Felt a bit claustrophobic as we swam over the reef and approached narrow winding tunnels. The guide already told us once we were in the tunnels there was no turning back. Don’t look back. Don’t turn back. Don’t stop. Don’t look up. Just swim straight ahead. As the walls closed in, I reminded myself not to panic. To breathe, follow the guide, count, do something to take my mind off the tiny space we were in. I imagined getting stuck. I think my derriere was the largest of all in the bunch. Thanks to the water gods, I didn’t get stuck. Right when I thought panic mode was gone, I saw an underwater mountain with the deepest, darkest cliff ever seen. Imagine standing on a mountaintop and looking down from the highest point into the valley. Now, imagine doing this as the sunlight fades to black. It took my breath away.

Breathe. Count. I reminded myself again.

After the long haul, the beautiful sea life finally arrived. The plethora of colorful fish, sea turtles, and all things aquatic made it worth the trip. Fear hadn’t fully subsided because worrying is what I do best. That’s when it hit me, literally. A White Tipped Reef Shark square on my nose. Any trace of logic escaped me as I screamed, forgetting I was under water. I took a big gulp and inevitably swallowed the most saltwater I ever care to taste again in this life. It’s a wonder I didn’t drown right then and there. Quickly, I regained my composure, but it didn’t last long. All I could think about was that damn shark circling back because after all, my period had started!

travel tip 

Skip the dip if your period suddenly shows up. Ain’t no one got time to be worrying about that in the open sea!


  1. Diamond Head is really something, isn’t it? A big climb but well worth it.

    We also enjoy snorkeling in the area and were very interested in your words. Keep at it. Sea life around there is great.

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