From my new book, currently being written. Hope to have it completed by next summer. It is in rough draft. It has not been edited as yet.
Writing like this gives me a nice and welcome respite from the Covid 19 madness. I can escape to my own world of past adventures and excitement without a care in the world.
Waikiki Beach is not the beach one would expect. Yes it beckons one to the lush, tropical and welcoming warmth of the island of Oahu but its texture is rough; its colour a dull greyish taupe and its lustre anything but that expected in the tropics. This very narrow strip of sand was not blindingly white or soft or smooth to the touch but a rough textured morass like field. Shipped in I was told. From Norway? No way. Australia? No way. Manhattan Beach California? Yes way. And on further inspection, as I didn’t want to explore too much or wander too far from “Akaru-Hime,” I noticed that the line of hotels didn’t quite make their way all the way to Diamond Head but were buttressed by a beautiful beach park where many of the locals, mainly older men, played chess or checkers under the watchful eye of a statue of Duke Pana Kahanamoku, Mr Aloha, who had just recently passed, himself a great surfer, Olympic gold medal swimmer, and well respected international Ambassador of these Hawaiian Islands. All of this would have to wait for another time as I was anxious to get settled in “Akaru-Hime.” Besides the hot and high afternoon sun was beginning to make its mark on my, as yet, acclimatized skin.
I walked back to “G” dock, down to G35 and waited alone contemplating as to my near and future prospects in this marine environment, an environment that was entirely foreign to me. Why on earth did they ask me to do this I thought? I know diddly-squat about sailboats. I don’t know Nigel at all, what he looked like, sounded like or thought like. Nothing in common I would think between the two of us. And where the hell was he? He knew when I was arriving this day, this hour, this time. Not a great impression on me for sure. Of course my sister and brother in law had already left and were currently in Japan, I would have thought. But no note, no letter just some vague instruction as to where I should go on arriving here.
“You must be John”
A voice, a Brit voice. behind me. I turned, shielded my eyes somewhat and there coming down the dock, about 10 feet away, was this bronze coloured but scruffy looking dude coming toward me.
“Nigel?” I queried.
“Yup, in the flesh.”
He was carrying a small bag, groceries I imagined, but no groceries, some beer, a six pack of Oly’s and a bottle of scotch. We shook hands.
Nigel was scruffily dressed in faded knee length brown, I think, shorts cinched at the waist by a length of hemp. I can say this because his short sleeved, rust coloured shirt was unbuttoned, open at the front exposing a hairy chest that was pidgeon like, with its tail flapping somewhat in the late afternoon breeze. He was wearing dark blue flip-flops that flip and flopped with every step. He walked right by me, climbed up and onto “Akaru-Hime,” jumped into the cockpit, put his things down then opened the hatch to the gangway and cabin below.
“C’mon onboard.” he said
I complied and shyly looked into the cabin below. I could see Nigel from his backside placing his bag onto the table top on the starboard side of the interior.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck and more fuck, for fuck’s sake.” He yelled at the bulkheads, at the top of his lungs, his arms flailing wildly. A small flock of gulls just across the narrow channel that separated “G” dock from “F” scattered, panicked by this cacophony of profanity coming out of nowhere it would seem. Their frantic cawing faded away.
“I left the god damned hatch closed. It’s a bloody fucking sauna in here.” as only a Brit could say, in understated understatements.
You don’t fuckin say I thought. Sure enough it was hot, and not just from the stale air under the cabin sole. In the next breath, Nigel turned, looked at me sheepishly, apologized for his outburst, grinned, and then giggled somewhat nervously and somewhat like an English school girl revealing a mouthful of yellow stained and ancient eye teeth and molars.
“Got to keep that forward hatch ajar and this hatch vent opened for cross circulation. Or it can get as hot as Hades in here in this heat.” He paused. “Here, have a beer?”
“We’ll have her up there in the cockpit. Wear this hat. You’ll need it until you get used to this heat.” Never heard of a beer referred to as a her!
“Its really camel piss this liquid shit. American piss. But it’s cold.” Of course Brit bitter is best.
Oly’s, short for Olympia Beer, a Pacific Northwest favourite, along with Rainier Beer. Hawaii has to import everything.
We sat there in uncomfortable silence as Nigel didn’t know what to make of me and me of him. He took a huge slug from his can, looked at me, sighed, depressingly like, looked around at the surroundings.
“So Sid ‘s fucked off and left me with this pile of shit dung.”
“Akaru-Hime?” Dung? He always anglicized Sadao to Sid.
“Looks fine to me” I said. “A bit weathered perhaps but it must be in fine shape.”
“She. A sailboat, no, all vessels on the water are she’s, not an it, for fuck sakes. Jesus H Christ. What the fuck have I gotten myself into” he proffered to no one, not to me, to the gulls perhaps, to his gods. They cawed in comical response!
He kind of looked at me with a grinning disdain. This was not going well. I felt intimidated by him to some degree.
“Sorry, she. She doesn’t look too bad, I mean, to me”
Nigel grunted, took a couple more long slugs, crushed the can and grabbed another.
“So John. What do you expect here? From me? Why are you here anyway?”
What could I say. “Pat and Sadao asked me to come and help out. Sail to Japan. Help you in doing it. I jumped at the chance. Great opportunity I thought. Looking forward to it.”
Saying nothing Nigel looked at me with contempt. What is his problem? I thought to myself.
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