There would be no negotiation. Swell would have to be moved right away. I wanted to beg and plead with the man, but I didn’t. I simply sighed and put my mask and fins back on to dive down and untie the extra lines and free the anchor. I mulled through the options of where I would move Swell. An hour later, though, Richard the ‘dockmaster’, came over to tell me that they’d found another place to squeeze me in!!
So I turned the engine over and motored Swell across to the opposite side of the marina. I re-hithced and lashed her there, moving in a semi-panic as the sun sunk lower and my chances for one last surf seemed to be growing slimmer. There was still so much to do!
Despite knowing that I was pushing it too late, with an outboard motor I’d never used…I sped off with an hour and half of light to spare. The engine seemed fine for the first ten minutes. I zoomed around to the leeward side of the island. But with only a half-mile to go, the outboard started to balk. It seemed to be loosing fuel? I pumped the fuel ball and willed my way that last few hundred yards to the pass. It died just as I neared the other boats anchored there. I tied to a friend’s boat and paddled out…
I cherished the clean warm water, the smiles of my friends, and the setting sun glowing through the waves faces even more than usual.
I clambored into the dinghy as dusk fell and the engine started up after a few pulls.
“I’ll be alright.” I told Aymeric as I putt away.
But it wasn’t okay. The engine died half way home. I pulled and pulled on the starting cord, but it wouldn’t go. There was enough light to make out a channel marker that I was drifting towards, so I rowed us in its direction and tied the bowline around it.
Hmmmm…I had no light, no tools, and the battery on my phone was blinking ‘low’. I wouldn’t be earning a ‘Preparation Badge’ for this mission. I gave it a few minutes and tried again. But deep down, just like I always had when the car broke down or my friends and I were lost somewhere, I felt happy, excited. It was now an adventure! I lay back against the pontoon and smiled. The surf had been so fun, the warm wind blew across my face, and above me stars began to pop out of the darkness.
I used the remaining bit of battery to call Jean Ives, the owner of the motor. “Okay, okay…I know where that is. I’ll come to get you as soon as I can…” he said.
Even with all the stress of packing and prepping for the whirlwind of a trip back to the U.S., I couldn’t have felt more content. Broken down in the middle of the lagoon, I stared skyward, breathed in the peace, and thanked the universe for a few hours where it was impossible to do anything but be exactly where I was.