Sunday, August 21, 2005

Impromtu boat ride

It's early afternoon and I am surifng the web when Caio asks me: "Can you watch me and Braden at the pool?"


I bring my Powerbook with me. The pool area is a hotspot. I can even pick up a signal on the beach. When we arrive, there's a few residents playing in the pool: Ben, his mom - Heddie and dad - Dave. Plus, their puppy, Nani is swimming too. I watch this puppy jump in the pool and ride the nerf surfboard across the pool. Funny stuff. This dog is really having fun and keeps trying to ride it with the help of Ben.

Soon, they all take off and it is just Braden and Caio diving to the bottom and holding their breath. My attention goes from trying to read the latest post on Twisp and then back to the boys in the pool. I then hear what sounds like Liz: "Caio!... Caio!...CAIO!"

"Caio, I think your mom is calling for you." As I say this, Liz appears.

"Caio, do you and Braden want to go for a ride in a boat?" Liz asks eagerly. "Your father's just offshore here, you can go for a ride." She turns to me "You can go too, Michael."

We all run to the beach. Just to the right I see a small boat, 15 feet offshore, rocking with the tiny waves. I turn and run back to the house to ditch the laptop, cell phone and grab a rashguard. Back on the beach, run over to the boat, walk thru the water and climb up the rung and into the small fishing boat with an outboard 150 HP Mercury motor. Caio and Braden hop in. Roberto, Billy and an unnamed random helper push the the seacraft around and then Roberto and Billy hop in. Soon enough we are riding along, bumping against the waves. Billy opens the throttle and the prow rises up in the air. Caio's a little nervous and clings to his father, Roberto.

I climb up to the prow and let my feet dangle over the sides. There's a thin railing which I lean against as we slice thru the green blue water leaving two waves behind us. Roberto says: "Keep an eye out for turtles, people and buoys." Braden joins me on the prow and Caio stays near his dad.

I realize too late that Bri and I had planned a hike at 3:00 PM. Look at my watch, it is 2:05 PM. Sorry Bri.

Billy stops his boat far out from Shark's Cove and we all jump in the water and swim around. Initially, Caio is nervous about going in the water. It is about 40 feet deep here and we can see the bottom because the water is so clear. The wind and the current push the drifting boat along at 3 to 4 knots. Billy hangs on to a blue forty foot long rope attached to the ladder and scans the seafloor thru his mask, as he floats 25 feet below. I give Bri a call at 2:30 and let him know that I am going to miss the hike. After 20 minutes of swimming, it is time to go. We continue onward, passing by Pipeline, Waeimea, Chums, Turtle Beach... the people look like grains of sand from this distance. There is no traffic, just the occassional vessel. As we approach the marina, we start seeing jetskis bouncing over the ocean waves. They do not go very far and the pilots all seem new to the the controls.

We pull up to a dock near the ramp, secure the boat to the side and wait for the trailer. Billy backs the trailer into the water with his white SUV and we easily push the boat onto it. Billy winds the boat into a secure position on the trailer, we all hop in the vehicle and then we cruise to Billy's ocean front house.

We all end up getting Tom Sawyered into cleaning the boat (scrubbing inside and out with soapy water and then hosing it off). Caio moans and says he is never riding in a boat again but him and Braden do all the inside scrubbing. Next, Roberto cleans and filets all the fish they caught - 4 smaller orange scaled fish were Billy's victims. Roberto caught a ten pound grouper with blue polkadots. This will soon be our dinner tonight. [In fact, I can smell it cooking as I input.] Billy's place is right next to a park, I can hear music and several kids play in the edge of the water. As Roberto practices his fishy surgery, a couple of his neighbors come by. We drink Beck's beer and talk about the 7 foot Hammerhead shark that some fisherman had in his boat that morning.

We say our good byes, thank Billy for the watery lift and head back up the coast to the little community at Backyards.