I clicked my beer to his and said, “to our adventure. There’s really nothing out here, is there? I mean nothing between Bimini and Andros?”
He lit two cigarettes and handed me one. He took a long draw and I mimicked his inhale. “Just ocean creatures, submarines and pirates.”
I burst out laughing. “What Blackbeard, lost WWII German fighters and the Lockness monster? Perhaps my statue came from Blackbeard’s ship.”
He looked at me and I could see his gaze through his sunglasses. “I’m serious. AUTEC has a facility on Andros, they are part of the US Navy. They do submarine testing in the Tongue of the Ocean. And Andros is famous for harboring pirates, they steal boats from all over the Bahamas.”
He waited for my reaction, because I always had one. I smirked. “OK, perhaps that’s true. So should I start looking for subs and pirate ships. And what about the sea creatures?”
His seriousness continued as he put his cigarette butt into his empty beer bottle. “The sea creatures I was referring to is just ocean life in general. Fish, whales, dolphin, porpoises and all that. And we probably don’t have to worry about subs or pirates until our trip tomorrow. They are generally found south of where we’re going tonight. Are you ready to press on?”
“Yes, let’s do it.” I sat next to Luke on the center cushion as he stood navigating the waters. I was a bit more attentive of the possibilities that existed in the deep blue sea. I was searching for any signs of the life that existed below the surface. The ocean floor was probably littered with artifacts from the 16th and 17th century when ships traversed the region trading goods from the new world to the old and vice versa. If I had a submarine I would be searching for ancient ships and artifacts. I would attach a blower or device to kick up the sand and unbury the past. “How deep is it here?” I asked loudly after much pondering.
“About twenty feet,” he shot back after a brief glance at his depth finder. “It’s going drop to about 6000 feet here shortly and then shallow again as we approach Andros.” He pointed straight ahead. “There’s the northeast tip.”
I stood up and squinted. “I see it. Would you like another beer?”
I grabbed our two empties and carefully walked to the cooler on the back of the boat. I pulled out two Klick lights and made my way back to Luke.
“6000 feet.” Luke called out. “We’re in the Tongue of the Ocean briefly to get around some reefs. And tomorrow we will be in the deep water until we get to Nassau.”
“Sweet.” I hung over the side of the boat and peered into the sapphire sea, memorized by its depth and color as translucent and solid as the sapphire ring on my middle finger. Unyielding at first glance but upon further examination I noticed the water’s diaphanous character. Then without warning a dolphin shot into the air with a graceful flip back into the ocean. “WOW.” I started clapping as Luke slowed down to a sailboat pace. Two more leaped from the water and then started playing with the bow of our Intrepid. I crawled up front admiring and cheering them on as they effortlessly shot back and forth in front of the boat. “Were not going to run them over, right?”
He smirked. “No, they are very smart and know their relation to the boat. They are just playful.”
I watched and sought out a connection. I wanted to see the face of one of them. I wanted to swim with them but I was terrified of jumping into the deep sea. They played in our wake then I got a joyful glance just prior to another 180 flip into the air. She was smiling, I least I thought of this dolphin as a she, although I can’t tell the difference between the sexes in porpoises. I guess the grace of these creatures is more feminine than masculine. I smiled back and naturally started clapping again.
“You know, porpoises are the only mammals who stay with their partner for life,” Luke said out of nowhere then continued. “They will have other sexual partners, but they go back to their mate.”
I contemplated this thought. OK, what is my lover telling me. Another flip, a solid smile and clap from me. “What’s that mean,” I finally answered.
“I’m just saying. Just sharing information.”
I gave him a sideways glance. He grinned. “OK, good to know.” It makes sense to me and I like the idea of having a partner for life. But human relationships are so much more complicated. We bring in complex emotions like fear, jealously, and anger to name a few. It would be nice if relationships existed with pure pleasure and playfulness and without negative emotions. I let the thought go as the dolphins disappeared into their lighthearted world.