Wading through the water I spotted the duck pacing and wondered if it sleeps at night or if ducks dream, recalling my crazy dream of drug-stuffed idols. Heading towards the runway, I passed Kevin and waved with a quick flip of my right hand. Sea Grapes edged the landing strip as I caught a glimpse of the ocean in the distance. With music blaring through my iPod, I barely heard the faint sound of an engine landing behind me. A Piper Aztec touched down as I jumped into the Sea Grape bushes in astonishment. Where in the hell did that come from? I was running on a runway with music blasting in my ears, probably not a good idea. Continuing past the dilapidated airport I observed a plane resting in the shallow water just feet from the shoreline. It was almost identical to the book cover ‘Turning the Tide’ I was introduced to just yesterday. With enlarged eyes I scooted closer to the water’s edge. I embraced the moment of historical relevance and continued running the shoreline until my turnaround point back to the ship. The pacing goose greeted me yet again for the last time.
Aboard the Cabin Fever, the crew was intensely looking over charts and planning as I arrived drenched in sweat and salt water. “Wow, that was an exciting run,” I exhaled while approaching the threesome on the bridge. “An Aztec landed and I saw the plane from the cover of the book.”
The three looked up with approval. “Did you have a good run?” Jamie asked.
I nodded. “Yes, awesome.”
“Good, we are setting sail soon so if you need anything on land, then now is the time. Including toilets,” she emphasized.
“Oh, that’s right.” I turned around and dove back into the water feeling more confident with my swimming abilities. Dripping wet I visited the outhouse and mumbled a quick goodbye to Kevin in the restaurant. After a swift shower I was ready to tackle the day in my bathing suit.
In the cabin I was informed of our plans for the day as we lunched on fresh-baked cheese croissants compliments of Jamie. We would cruise past several small islands and then Luke and I would jump into the Intrepid for some fishing and meet up with the Bluewater at Compass Cay then onto Staniel Cay where parts were being flown in to fix the toilets. The ocean was flat calm and fairly shallow except for the Exuma Sound dropping to almost 6000 feet, similar to the Tongue of the ocean. We would only be in the deep fishing on the Intrepid.
I grabbed my book, cigarettes, a towel, and a bottle of water setting up for a few hours of sunbathing. “Anybody want to work on their tan,” I threw out there as I set-up on a large cushion at the stern of the bridge.
“I’ll join you,” Jamie answered.
Returning minutes later she sat down on a cushion next to me spraying tanning lotion on her shoulders, neck and face. Holding up her sun kissed brown bottle, “Would you like some?”
“Sure.” I took the lotion from her outreached hand and sprayed my chest, already having SPF on my face as a daily routine after my shower. I’d spent some time with Jamie but I didn’t really know her outside of the four of us having dinner a few times in Florida. I knew she was a strong person and often commanded the room. She was a leader, as was I when nobody else stepped up to the plate. I was usually willing to let someone else take on that demanding role. She definitely wore the pants in the family, although Nick was no pushover. We were both laying horizontal as I glanced sideways through my sunglasses. “So how did you and Nick meet?”
Her face lit up and an uncontrollable smile swept across her face. “Well it’s kind of a funny story.” She glimpsed at me then back up at the sky. “Have you heard about Columbus Day Regatta?”
“Luke said it’s a party on the water and that he wants us to go this fall. September, right?”
“Yes, the first weekend in September. And party is an understatement. Everyone is drinking crazy amounts of alcohol and bathing suits are optional. It’s like an orgy in the middle of the ocean.”
I cracked a smile as my ears perked.
“So I took my boat down with about six girlfriends. At that time I had a 36 foot Contender and we anchored next to Nick’s 56 foot Hatteras. He was there with about ten guys and they started throwing beads at us to remove our tops. So I tossed my top onto his boat, dove in the water and emerged on his stern.” She propped herself up on her elbows and motioned to her breasts. “And he kept staring at these, so I said, are you going to get me a drink. Still stunned he handed me the one in his hand.”
I giggled. “I’m sure he did.”
Her smile widened. “And we just really hit it off. It was a crazy weekend. All of my crew ended up spending the weekend on the Hatteras. Naked guys and girls floated about the sea, music blared, and come Monday we decided to keep in touch. The Hatteras and his captain stayed in Miami as Nick flew in from Texas almost every weekend. That was over ten years ago.”
“Do you go to the regatta every year?”
“No, but I’d like to go again this year.” She laid back down, “It’s fun, but a bit much at times.”
“Sounds like fun. I’d like to check it out at least once. Where do people sleep if on a smaller boat?”
She chuckled. “Wherever they fall. Most people are so wasted that they just pass out on the boat or not sleep at all, or all sleep together.”