Going With the Flow

My kids grew up with certain given truths.  Any party at our house is going to involve costumes.

Any snow day will involve staying home from school to play in the snow, even if school is not officially canceled.

And Mom doesn’t go in the water.  Not in pools.  Not in lakes.  And especially not in oceans.  That was their Dad’s province, and just one of the reasons I married him.


These truths were held to be self-evident, until our first trip to Hawaii.

Not since I was a child had I experienced such a personal relationship with water, warm night air, and moonlight all at once.

Snorkeling changed my life.

 Just under the surface was an alien world, wonder-full, completely new to me.  As close as I’ll ever come to being a virgin again!

My kids even coaxed me into the swimming pools there.  Especially at night the atmosphere was surreal.

Warm, clear, and calm, but with sound of the surf ever present.

For a little while, we were amphibians.



My kids still know that any party we have at our house is going to involve costumes.  They know that snow days are for staying home and playing in the snow, no matter what anyone else thinks.  And they know Mom doesn’t go into the water.  Not in pools.  Not in lakes.  Especially not in oceans.

Except in Hawaii!

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime.

Click here, for more interpretations of Ailsa’s Weekly Travel Theme: Liquid.

All words and images c2012 Naomi Baltuck



  1. niasunset says:

    WOW! Seems that it was a great fun and enjoyable voyage… But I am surprised now, you are a mother, have kids… 🙂 You are a young mother. Dear Naomi, I should have been living next to your house, and I am same as you about water but I haven’t experienced under water, should be amazing world. Wonderful photographs, I enjoyed so much. Thank you, Blessing and Happiness to you with your lovely family, love, nia

    1. Dear Nia,
      Thank you so much for your visit. I always love to hear from you! I am a mother, with two kids, but they are all grown up now. My youngest just went off to college in September. They still travel with us, whenever possible. Those are photos of the kids taken in Hawaii last June.

      We would love to have you for our neighbor! I hope you do get the chance to go snorkeling sometime. They also have something called a Boogie Board, which we Bea used when she was very little and uncomfortable snorkeling. She would like on the board and peer thought a clear window in the board, and it worked as well as snorkeling.

      Blessings upon you and your wonderful family, Nia. Give Haydut a hug for me!

  2. Nice.. I love lakes but am scared of the ocean and only a pool when I’m desperate for swimming.

    1. I so understand! I have been waryof the ocean since 1966, when three of my big sisters were carried out to sea and nearly drowned. It is has been a long time overcoming that fear, but warm water helps!

  3. ShimonZ says:

    so glad that you found an opportunity to break your own rules… and yes, it looks like you discovered a whole new world. that’s wonderful. The pictures were too. Very beautiful.

    1. Dear Shimon,
      It is another world, and it fascinates me. I have no wish to learn scuba diving or deep sea diving. I am happy to float on the surface of the water like a leaf, and lose myself in that world. There is always something new to see, and it is almost like being one with the water–learning to go with the flow, I guess!

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments.

  4. footsy2 says:

    Yup. Hawaii was good. But then so was Mauritius and the Maldives. I love islands.

    1. Dear Footsy,

      Those are places I have never been, but would like to go some day. I would love to hear what it was like–what you saw, how was the water, etc.
      I went snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, which was a little scary (as my husband did get stung by a venomous jellyfish and that movie about the couple who had been abandoned on the GBR and killed by sharks had just come out). I have swum in the Aegean and snorkled off Florida and in the Ligurnian Sea, and Hawaii, of course. But there is so much more to do and see!

  5. scillagrace says:

    Great post! Change and movement, waking up to what’s here in this marvelous world. Finding fun when fear takes flight…

    1. Hi Scilla,
      Thanks for checking in! I’m learning. Still always learning!

  6. So glad you learned what you were missing. I don’t go in the water either–unless it is warm! Head to Croatia in summer and jump off one of this countries bazillion cliffs into an ocean that makes Hawaii’s look dirty. One of the highlights of my life. Welcome to the sea!

    1. Dear Suzanne,
      I am so excited to hear that you are going to Croatia! That is a place that I would love to know more about. I hope you take lots of photos, and tell us all about it! It sounds as though you have traveled there before. Do you have a post about it in your archives that you could give a link to?

  7. Elyse says:

    Lovely — snorkeling in the Caribbean is pretty terrific too — warm water, loads of pretty stuff. Yup, I can do that. Glad you got in!

    1. That is something I would love to do. Do you have a favorite island or home base in the Caribbean? Spring break will be here before we know it….

      1. Elyse says:

        We’ve been to St. Thomas, St. John and St. Lucia. St. John has the best, but it is really expensive. St. Thomas has great snorkeling on the eastern end near Red Hook. Do not go to Coki beach which is TACKY — seriously awful. St. Lucia was a huge disappointment — crappy hotel and the snorkeling was not convenient at all. Maybe it was at the better resorts. OUrs was not among those (also I hated the salt & pepper sand which stuck to my feet and burned the hell out of them). Go. It is wonderful.

      2. Thank you! This is great information to have! It is now on my to-go list!

    1. Thank you. I enjoyed yours too. Thanks for the follow. I look forward to following yours too!

  8. Dauw says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog and the kind reaction you wrote there.
    Great family you have. And such marvelous photo’s here. I could easily feel home over there 😉
    I’m a parttime amphibian too (in the summer, that means), but I never snorkled … I just love swimming.

    1. Thank you so much for the visit, and for sharing your generous thoughts. My family is everything to me! And now I am learning to play in the water with them. I guess it’s never too late! I look forward to exploring your blog further.

  9. Kourtney Heintz says:

    Aw, awesome story about truths and lovely photos of your family in water. Hawaii is the Las Vegas of water. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Kourtney! I never thought about it, but, yes, Hawaii probably is the Las Vegas of water. Or maybe Waikiki would be that.

  10. sue says:

    How about jacuzzis? You know we will want you to come sit in ours as soon as the back yard is finished!! 🙂

    1. Can I bring my wetsuit? Can’t wait to see your new backyard!

  11. Happy and lovely photos! Water is something you really have a relationship with…Beautiful family!

    1. Thank you so much for your visit, and for taking the time to share your very generous thoughts.

  12. sueannm66 says:

    Snorkelling is an activity where you can lose all track of time. I love that! So glad you overcame your aversion to water to have that experience.

    1. We went snorkeling every single day for two weeks, and saw at least one sea turtle every time. I never got tired of it. We saw a school of tiny baby squid, and octopus, and eels, and cleaning wrasse picking at the teeth of great big fish. We even saw a ray! We would stay in the water an hour or an hour and a half at a time. I got so sunburnt on my backside, even with sun tan lotion, that I had to start wearing leggings into the water so I wouldn’t get sunburn on my sunburn. It really did change my life!

      1. sueannm66 says:

        Sounds fantastic. I think I want to go to Hawaii now. Which island were you on?

      2. We were on Maui, snorkeling at Black Rock, Napili, Kanapali, Honolua, and Makulei’a Bay. We also drove down to Wailea for some snorkeling. Maui has been the best island for snorkeling, at least for us. When we snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef, we were afraid of all the venomous creatures in the water. In fact, my husband was stung by a Bluebottle Jellyfish there. I know there are Lionfish and other creatures you wouldn’t want to touch, but Hawaii seems a much gentler place to swim and just enjoy that living undersea garden.

      3. sueannm66 says:

        Thanks! I think a trip to Hawaii sounds like a must do. I agree Australia has some nasty critters both on land and on sea. I guess we’re just used to it so we don’t let it phase us.

      4. We were there last June, and actually met with my sister, who came from Canberra. They love the ocean, but they wear heavy duty wetsuits for protection again nasty critters. Australia is fascinating and unique place!

  13. Love the underwater pics!! I just ADORE sea turtles, they’ve been around for, what is it, 200,000,000 years?? Unbelievably beautiful and wondrous creatures ❤

    Thanks so much for checking out my blog! I do a weekly or at least every-other-week Pictorial Highlight of a different bioregion in my beloved home state of California; my most recent one is Joshua Tree N.P., I'm really pleased with how a lot of the pics came out!

    –Love and Liberation–

    Jan @ TheRewildWest

    1. Thank you for your visit. Watching a sea turtle is one of the highlights of snorkeling. They are such graceful creatures.

      I really enjoyed my visit to your blog. Joshua Tree is a sacred place to my sister-in-law–she goes there whenever she needs to recharge and renew.

      1. Thanks for your kind words! I try to do a Pictorial Highlight (like that of Joshua Tree), at least a few times a month, each time featuring my photography from different parts/parks of California =)

        I can’t wait to go snorkeling again and see some sea turtles! The snorkeling highlight of my life (and one of the highlights in general) was when me and my partner at the time swam with leopard sharks and guitar fish and stingrays!!

      2. That’s wild! Glad you lived to tell the tale!

      3. Oh, leopard sharks are pretty much completely harmless to humans! And the stingrays were on the bottom, on the sand, so no real danger there. I have been stung by a stingray and it FUCKING HURTS. A LOT. Haha. Definitely doesn’t keep me out of the water though!

  14. 12kilroy says:

    I know this misses the point of the post, but it’s nice to see someone with a sensible view of snow.

    1. Oh, my, yes! I remember waking up to snow one day, and the district didn’t close because they knew it would warm up soon. The kids and I pulled coats and boots on over our jammies and built an amazon snow woman. We played until we were exhausted, went in for hot cocoa, and I took the kids to school about 11AM. When we pulled up, it was so sad to see all of their classmates, with their faces pressed against the glass windows. The snow was gone by the time school let out, and they had missed out entirely. In Seattle, you get outside when the sun shines or the snow falls, because it might not last. Hey, thanks for stopping by!

  15. Nancy says:

    I love seeing your family photos and these are especially sweet.
    Your blog always makes me smile.

    1. Thank you! It is always good to hear from you!

  16. TBM says:

    Ah, what a cute story. Hawaii is lovely and i can see why you have different rules there.

    1. Dear TBM,
      Thanks so much for stopping by. Before I went there, I had no idea what to expect. It is a very special place, and especially when it comes to the water, and beaches, and even making public appearances in a bathing suit, the rules do change!
      Thanks so much for your visit, and sharing your generous thoughts.

  17. Ah, it’s those exceptions that make life so delicious – not just water, but costumes, snow days… Wonderful post!

    1. Dear Cathryn,
      Thank you so much for your visit. You are absolutely right. It is those little things that the kids remember when they look back at their childhood.

  18. Your post made me smile. The blessings of a family that values each other are written all over this post. Tropical waters are amazing. I too have great memories of snorkelling. Last Summer my son discovered it too although I was reallly nervous while we were on deeper salt waters. love the pics.

    1. Thank you! It is scary to turn them loose in the water! We use the buddy system, and go two by two. But sometimes we swim four in a row, all holding hands. It just felt so sweet to be there. Maybe because I knew that Bea was going to go to college at the end of the summer, it affected me greatly, and I got teary inside my snorkel mask.

  19. I just picked up on this “Any snow day will involve staying home from school to play in the snow, even if school is not officially canceled.” My sentiments exactly, especially in Missouri where snow is fairly rare . . . let them play! One year I promised our exchange student from Mexico that if it snowed during our class time, we would go out in it. The class held me to that promise. Then, after five minutes, they all wanted to go back inside — kids!

    1. What a treat for your exchange student! We drop everything and go out and play, and walk to the duck pond not far from our house, and even just wtching the snow in the trees from our window is a treat. THanks for stopping by, Mary, and sharing a snow story! Here is Seattle that’s the next best thing to playing in the snow.

      1. There are rumors that snow might be coming my way . . . . skis are ready, cross country, even though I can’t go far on them . . . more like cross-a-block . . .

  20. eof737 says:

    Wonderful… I love water too but not to enter the ocean… This was so heartfelt. Now I want to go to Hawaii! 😉

  21. Sweet. You are your mother’s daughter. From your loving sister.

    1. Dear Lee,

      It wasn’t until I was older that I realized what an act of love it was for Mom to sit in the hot sand on the beach in a bathing suit she loathed to keep an eye on us in the water, terrified that we might drown, when she couldn’t swim a stroke! And then to have three of her girls swept out to sea off the shore of San Diego! But once she learned nobdoy got killed, she did have her camera ready for a great photo op of you in that orange bathing suit. Yes, I am my mother’s daughter!

      So glad to hear from you–I miss you! It was great seeing you.
      Your loving little sis,

  22. 4amWriter says:

    I need to try snorkeling again. On our honeymoon in Mexico, we went snorkeling, but would you believe I got seasick while in the water??? Weird.

    1. Oh, you poor thing! My first attempt was as a college kid, and I just didn’t get it. But I was pregnant with Eli when my husband and I went to Hawaii for a last hurrah. I was as big as a whale, and it was a miracle to be floating light as a feather in the water. Somehow it took. I wonder if it was because the sea was choppy for you.

  23. Hawaii is a magical place, where I guess anything can happen. Loved the pictures Naomi 🙂

    1. I wouldn’t want to live there, but it is one of the most wonderful places to visit! Thanks for stopping by, and taking the time to comment.

  24. smilingtoad says:

    This was so intensely beautiful. Evoked so many of my own memories, of snow days, of my first time snorkeling in those lucid waters, discovering that alien world so beautiful and majestic. Wonderful images, beautiful post!!

    1. Thank you so much for your very kind response. I am enjoying your blog too!

  25. tita buds says:

    That’s a good compromise, haha. Nothing less than (and more) warm beach waters from now on, Naomi. 🙂

    1. So good to hear from you, Tita! Thanks for your visit. You always make me smile!

  26. Jamie Dedes says:

    It looks like such fun. I don’t mind the water, but I’ve never been brave enough to go snorkling or deep-sea diving … it all beckons though …

  27. Madhu says:

    I don’t get into water either! Who would have thought snorkeling is the key to curing that phobia??? Looks like Hawaii needs to be bumped up on my bucket list. A truly wonderful post Naomi 🙂 Merry Christmas.

    1. Thank you, Madhu! It is a wonderful place to practice getting into the water and being completely comfortable. Best wishes to you too.

  28. mithriluna says:

    This is sweet. 🙂 I’m glad you ventured into the water in Hawaii.

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