On the first day of our Maui vacation my wife asked me if I was going snorkeling. This is her favorite ocean activity. I hate it.
"No," I said. "Snorkeling is a been there, done that thing for me. Water gets in my mask because I have a beard. The fish all look the same after a while. I'd rather sit on the beach and observe the varieties of humans. That's more interesting to me."
Here's the results of my enjoyable late April - early May research. (Click on photo to enlarge.)
Quasi-fit older male. Sitting on the beach for as long as I did, watching barely clad humanity pass by, I quickly realized that lots of people are sadly out of shape. It was good to see older guys who looked fairly fit, even if they had some extra pounds on them.
Beach "surfers." I'm someone who likes to use my boogie board on large waves breaking quite a ways offshore. But these girls had a lot of fun with waves right on the beach. Each to his own; that's the hang loose Hawaii philosophy.
Gaggle of girls. Teenage girls seemed more likely to form into groups than the guys did. Here's a foursome.
Heavy-laden beachgoer. The top example happens to be my wife, Laurel. Beach bag, snorkel gear, mat, umbrella. Umbrella was a mistake; it was on the patio of our condo but was found to be broken after Laurel carted it halfway down the beach.
Paddleboarding with kid. This was common. The kids seemed to enjoy the carefree ride. Even (or especially) if Mom or Dad dumped them in the ocean.
Color coordinated mother-daughter. The woman's other daughter wore purple also.
Paddle board fishingpeople. She was the only example I saw of this rare breed. She carried her gear and pole in a box on her board while the guy she was with used a kayak.
Off-shore boogie boarder. This could have been me, except I'd just come in from riding the waves and (obviously) was sitting on the beach with my camera. The boogie boarding was pretty blah this trip; no large waves, just some middling ones breaking over a reef area.
Colorful sea life. Some people go in for bright inflatable fun. I liked how they added dashes of color to the surface of the ocean, just as tropical fish do underneath.
Maxi-Americanus. This variety of over-stuffed human was much in evidence. The guy's shirt reads "Eat Crab." Dude, I think you've done enough of that, along with the butter sauce.
Mini female, maxi male. A variation of the above, which was quite a bit more common than the reverse -- maxi female, mini male. Go figure (if you're Donald Trump or otherwise wildly wealthy, that's often the answer -- a big-figured bank account).
Older lady clumping. This group was having a good time until a large wave impelled by a rising tide washed over them. The lady in the middle got dragged into the ocean and had a difficult time getting up until several people came to her rescue.
Fully sun-screened child. I saw this girl several times. Sometimes she wore shorts instead of the pants outfit. Nicely protected from the sun, perhaps for a medical reason.
Gray-haired bobber. Common variety of beach life. Hey, it describes me. But savvy photographer that I am, I never turned the camera on myself.
Fit not-so-young-anymore woman. A photographic surprise. My eye for curves spotted her and I fired up my telephoto lens. Then she turned around and I said to myself, "Whoa, she's old! And fit. And still damn good looking."
Extra large beached male. Yes, this specimen did manage to rise from its resting place of the sand. But it was touch and go for a while.
Locals chilling out. On the weekend and late in the afternoon some of the permanent residents would visit the beach. They were easy to distinguish from the touristas.
Guy tribe. Young dudes on the beach usually don't clump together and chat like the dudettes do. They often engage in mysterious behavior, like taking a photo of the beach while his buddy says, "What the fuck, man?! It's just fucking sand!"
Athletic wave player. This local girl could do some rad (is that still a "hip" word?) tricks with her boogie board on beach-breaking waves. Fun to watch. Even more fun to do, I assume.
The metal detector guy. Guess every beach has one. He came out early in the morning. I thought this was ridiculous... until I got home and heard that many people lose expensive rings in the ocean, sometimes right after they've gotten married on Maui.
Just married's on Maui. Speaking of which... I saw several beach weddings. What a great idea. No rental fee. No (or few) guests. No decorations other than nature. Honeymoon starts right after the wedding. This looked like a double wedding to me. Or maybe a renewal of vows for the older couple.
Rock crawlers. Some humans enjoy creeping around tide pools, looking at something or other. Me, I preferred to sit on the beach with a telephoto lens, looking at the rock crawlers.
Ocean dog. Since Hawaii has a lengthy waiting period to bring in a dog, only the locals could bring theirs to the beach. My wife would get all homesick for our family canine when she saw a dog playing in the water. This one wasn't wild about the ocean, but did its best to follow its owner.
Gray haired rock percher. Actually, this guy was quite fit and did a bunch of swimming. Apparently he was just taking a breather on a reef rock. (You're not supposed to touch them, but tourists do lots of things they're not supposed to do.)
Paddleboard walker. OK, she wasn't actually taking her paddleboard for a leash walk. I'm not sure what she was doing. Whatever it was, she looked good doing it.
Stylish non-swimmer. Occasionally I'd spot beachgoers who weren't dressed for the water. This girl was just dressed to look good.
Heavily tattooed macho man. There were quite a few of these on the beach. It seemed that if you were twenty to thirty-five, a tattoo of some sort was almost obligatory. This guy had an especially dramatic tattoo, though. When I saw it, I thought "Man, that's unusual." Then, like a minute later...
This guy walked by. That's what keeps me an avid observer of human beach life. You never know what variety will pop up next.