Andrew Read, Michael Spackman, Douglas Goodwin, Peter Blyth, Timothy McGuigan, Richard Edmonds, Richard Rogers
They say when a local fishing boat crosses another vessel's bow it is attempting to get rid of it's bad luck by passing it on. I was fortunate to have such a near miss as we passed gunnels that stormy night, rounding the point and coming into Pasangan Bay, better known as Macaronis. Mind you, I'm a solid old steel bitch and I would have kicked that timber boat to splinters. If bad luck comes in threes, then here's 3 for the record.
It is the best swell of the season. Macaronis is perfect, as good as it gets and there are a handful out sharing, hooting and carrying on. It is a backside barrel bonanza. My Captain's getting cocky. I know because he starts taking off on what I would call 'unmakeable waves'. The bottom drops out of one and he goes over three times with the lip, one of which is with his board and the fin gets knocked out by his shin He waves for the Toranna (my tender) and gets dropped back to me, asking if Olly, the Captain from Komodo could come and sew him up. A big flap of skin and subtenaceous fat is hanging off. There is blood all over my deck, which I don't mind. Just do not bring sand onto me. An hour later Olly's whacked in 10 stitches and my captain sits morosely contemplating the perfection in front of him; out of action for a month·bad luck no.1
The next morning my blood (oil) has been contaminated by water. My heart (engine) cannot function like this. My cylinder liner has blown a seal. My heart needs re-conditioning. I am dead in the water. It's mid charter. It's looking like a tow back to port, transferring the passengers to another boat and ending this charter now with another huge swell on the way. The captain's despair deepens. Bad luck no.2
While all this is going on, The Office or Lances Rights, is doing its epic double-up mad thing with a handful of very good surfers from Hawaii and Oz. Not only that but Lance Knight is there after 13 years on a type of pilgrimage. I don't even have to be there to feel the power that is spewing out of those incredible barrels. Dinosaur saliva spits, heavy wipe-outs and rinsings to the beach. Missing a day like that, and there have been three since the fishing boat crossed my bow, is what my Captain calls bad luck no.3.
Andrew Read and his mates. A bunch of mid 40 year olds. Mates from school. Booked the boat a year ago. They are the archetypical blokes. Have been excited about this trip for a whole year. They get on board. They have video of the hotel in Singapore, the airport chaos, the car ride to the boat, and every nook and cranny of the boat. They hit the surf like they are going to get their money's worth. 2 hours later we have 2 broken boards, 3 stitches, multiple reef scrapes and 7 very happy blokes. By the end of the day they are surfed out, sore, and sipping Bintangs. The pros hit us the next day and we run to Maccas and they score the best waves of their lives. The pros hit us again and they end up surfing with Danny wills, Dean Morrison, and the Hawaiins. Everyone is friendly and they have a blast. At one stage they are sitting in the dinghy, cheering all the boys, taking photos with their digital cameras and having a blast. They are stoked to have seen all the pros and surfed with them. Raving that night over how they could tell their mates and show em the photos.
During all the turmoil; my Captain's leg throbbing, my broken down heart, and my passengers' sympathy coated by the perfection on offer, the weather turned to shit. I was towed to a safer anchorage devoid of any name breaks. Yet we managed to salvage the day and ferry Ready and co to a rarely surfed reef where they scored fun waves in the 4' range by themselves. Never mind that the mangrove drained past it with all the debris of a forest flood and the fact that if ever there was going to be a saltwater crocodile it would be here. The boys were grinning.
It was a sad day when we parted ways and they sailed off on another good 'ol boat and comrade in arms, Katika. My Captain limped across my deck, sat down and patted my steel skin and muttered "these things are sent to try us". A small hiccup in our grand adventure.