Rum and Nothing Better to Do
It was the last weekend of the locals’ two-week vacation and there’d been lots of action around the marina lately. My empty refrigerator had inspired a ride down to the ‘Snack’ which had turned into a spontaneous gathering of many who’d been in the Teahupo’o line-up lately. I rolled back to Swell on my no brakes, rust-bucket close to eleven at night. The moon was full and silhouetting the ridgeline. A few of the younger local kids on their way home helped me lift my bike over the closed marina gate.
Upon my arrival back at Swell, I was welcomed by a drunken duo of local guys, maybe 19 or 20 years-old, sitting at the end of the dock. I greeted them in a friendly tone, but finally withdrew when it was obvious that they were well into the bottle of rum they were passing between each other. I asked them repeatedly if they wouldn’t mind just moving to the other end of the dock. I even escorted them halfway, explaining that I was going to sleep and their music was too loud. They stumbled alongside, but seemed to hover back magnetically as I wandered back towards Swell. The night air was stiff and hot, but I shut the door of the companionway from the inside, just to deter any drunken desire they might have to enter Swell.
Not sure what else I could do, I put in my earplugs and crawled into bed. I thought about shutting the hatch above me, but the heat of the night was stifling and I could hardly stand the thought of cutting off my only source of fresh air. Despite that I could still hear their muffled antics, I drifted quickly into dreamland.
I’m not sure how much time had passed when I woke to a shuffle above me and slurred whispers. I opened my eyes to see the black silhouette of the smaller kid’s head peering down into my hatch!
“Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I hollered. I leapt to my feet and crawled out the hatch to see them stumbling off down the dock. One of my ‘eight Tahitian dads’ had been woken by my cry. Claude leapt from his fishing boat and hurried to head them off at the end of the dock.
The boys had untied my stern line, probably in order to pull the bow in and get a peek into my hatch without climbing aboard. But when that wasn’t enough to see in, the smaller of the two had stepped over the lifeline and onto the deck.
Claude grabbed the little one (his nephew, in fact), shaking him thoroughly and then sent them off down the road. He motioned to me that it was okay. I retied Swell’s stern line and crawled back into bed. I didn’t sleep well the rest of the night and made plans to head back to George’s mooring the following day.