And then one afternoon, when my faith in the male gender had plummeted to an abysmal low, I turned in and saw Bali talking to a guy on the inside. He was the best surfer in the water. He took his waves but wasn’t greedy. He looked at me as he paddled by and said, “Hey, you need a few good ones? If you see me paddling, just go. I’ll pull out.”
For a moment I thought I heard him wrong. “Huh?” I asked.
“Yeah, come up here and get a set from the peak,” he said. “I’m Eric.”
I followed him up the reef through the pack. Anything was worth a try at this point”¦ so I waited close to Eric until a beautiful line of water rose up from the deep blue, shifting right and about to wrap the reef flawlessly.
“Go!” He called… so of course I went!
Thanks to Bali and ‘Uncle’ Eric’s conspiring, I got a little work done that afternoon and my flickering faith in men was restored. Although, nothing’s REALLY free in this world”¦ but how could I deny him a date after his chivalrous deed in my time of need?
In the days that followed, Bali and I rarely rested. We were up before dawn and not finished until well into night when the dishes were done and the film was loaded for the next day. When we wanted anything but to be back in the salt and sun, we gritted our teeth, turned to sarcasm, swathed on another coat of sunscreen, and went for it. The swell never stopped and weather constantly cooperated (more than can be said for the cameras and my refrigerator). I’m certain I surpassed any prior personal record for water time and sunscreen usage within a 10-day period. I credit Bali’s (negatively) positive humor and Eric’s gallantry for the maintenance of sanity through it all. Once we started making it fun, everything seemed to ‘click’. From watching Bali go over the falls behind me with his camera on a kid’s pool size boogie board that we borrowed (and broke in half!”¦thank you and sorry to Mark and his little boy), to nicknaming the line-up’s kook all-stars, to beholding the unbelievable state of my greasy hair after 5 days without washing it and adding monoi oil before surfing, to duct-taping pink-flowered girls flip flops to Bali’s feet so he could paddle a kayak into the reef and set up his camera where waves were washing up to his knees to get a ‘land shot'”¦ well, it was all pretty hilarious and ridiculous.
But apparently that nominal amount of initial frustration had been leading us to the magical flow of our last few days, which brought us to the phenomenon at the right-hander, multiple meal invitations, a ride when we were hauling the kayak back up the long dark road, a possible extension of my visa, a perfect wind to sail back to the airport, and an accidental extra chocolate soufflÃ© that the waitress delivered to our table when it was finally time to celebrate. All of this seemed to prove that even when things don’t seem to be going right, you stumble through the hallways of doubt to discover that what appeared to be kinks in the plan were ALL JUST PART OF THE MIRACLE! Bali, thank you for adding your shine to life that made our ‘work’ fun”¦ may you and your family be forever blessed and may your panoramic rainbow shot be in focus! And Eric”¦ may your good wave karma find you in your next heat on the other side of the planet!