I flew to Maui today to attend three days of meetings as part of the Fourth Annual Hawaiian Monk Seal & Cetacean Stranding Response Network. At the far northern end of Ka'anapali Beach, we discovered divers launching themselves off the 35-foot rock face at sunset. See that dark speck above the rocks? That's a diver in full arch mode. Not everyone was as professional as this guy. Some jumped feet first; others glued their arms at their side and took a header into the water.
One member of our Hawaiian monk seal response team, Mary, is thinking about taking the leap. At sunset, she was seen body surfing and performing twirling handstands in the ocean. At first glance, you wouldn't think she was such a daredevil. She is, after all, a quiet woman with graying hair and, as she told me, "a woman in her 60s." She's trying to rope me—20 years her junior—into the action. I jumped off a cliff similar in size to this one once before in my life. It ended with me sporting bruises on the backs of my legs that looked like someone had taken a bat to me. I know I don't want to experience that again.
Did I mention that this spot was known as the "leaping off point" in ancient Hawaii days. It's the place where departed spirits left this world. Nope, I do not think I'll be doing any cliff jumping this trip.