The trek to Shark’s Cove, a secluded Guam beach, feels a lot like being a castaway. My wild imagination had me calculating survival techniques and glancing nervously at my diminishing cell battery. (Times like these I thank God I married a MacGyver type.)
This secluded beach is not only uninhabited, but rarely visited. In fact, besides a few fishermen we passed on the way, the entire beach was ours. This is what I love about living on Guam.
The hike starts at Tanguisson Beach Park — my favorite beach on Guam for its sheer Seuss-like architecture. Mushroom-shaped lava plumes define this rugged beach, which is frequented by only a handful of people at a time and sometimes no one at all. The tide was out — way out — exposing the jagged, protective reef. The journey to Shark’s Cove is a winding stretch up the western side of the 32-mile-long island. The verdant cliff line is lined with swaying palms and the beach is animated with tiny hermit crabs scurrying from hole to hole to escape our menacing footsteps. There are no houses, no people, no monkeys, and very few birds. The sound of crashing waves was even absent.
Shark’s Cove was our destination on this hot afternoon for one reason: snorkeling. Despite the name, I have never seen a shark here (or anywhere on Guam, though they are abundant in these waters). Having snorkeled with black tip reef sharks in Palau, I hope that I’d remain calm assertive, Cesar Milan style if I encountered one. What I did encounter was well worth the 25-minute beach trek through jungle and sand: a coral reef teeming with colorful tropical fish.
Before I moved to Guam, I had never snorkeled so it still feels incredibly adventurous to me. The tide was so far out and the water so shallow, I had to inhale at certain passes to avoid scraping my undersides on the sharp coral. I snorkeled until my neck hurt, enraptured with the variety of life at my fingertips. Being underwater is both soothing and exhilerating — the crackle of the water, like an electric current, the scrape, scrape, scrape of fish nibbling on the coral, and the anticipation of seeing a shark are like no land activity.
As I floated in the clear, turquoise bay looking up at the imposing cliff, I was struck with the sheer exoticness of this place. This is exactly the kind of destination people search for and I live here. I live here.
All photos taken with my iPhone 5.