Friday, August 5, 2011

Under The Black Flag; Part II

1. The state or quality of being positive; definiteness; assurance.

Nobody likes that negative person, you know the one, no matter what the situation, even in times of great enjoyment, finds fault, takes issue, or just looks like a sour puss.

I try to avoid this at all cost; my posts are intentionally crafted to be positive, even when there are negative aspects involved.

That being said, the extraordinary view of  a sunrise as it bathes the camp site in the early morning hours, or the sunset that bids the island a fond farewell in the evening light, comes at a price.

Our Portsmouth trips have cost us both material goods, and ego.

Anyone who has spent time outdoors knows that you have to pay the piper when he claims his due for the tune.

So on this trip Portsmouth brought us calm…
Beautiful weather, fair weather, with a fair weather breeze that whispered down the beach just enough to make the pirate flag flutter. 

All was well, as we enjoyed grilled shrimp, hamburgers and dogs, and each other’s company.

I put a lot of hours in surf fishing as I continue to learn the finer points of the trade, and the fishing was steady.

Call it complacency, or unpreparedness, but I decided for whatever reason not to fill the 4-Runner with gas as we waited for the ferry… (Paradise has a way of dulling logical thoughts I suppose).

This bit of oversight left us with around a half tank of gas for the island.

That’s plenty for normal circumstances.

But then this trip would prove to be “abnormal”.

We had made our way back from the ranger station to replenish ice that had long since melted in the July heat and were feeling refreshed from a quick shower as we set out to cook breakfast.

But something was different; the green heads were still around, but their nuisance had grown familiar to us and we had taken steps to mitigate their impact, in other words, no biggie on the green headed biting bastards.

Around the same time that we realized that the wind had changed to an off-shore direction which inspired thoughts of hollow waves we noticed a few black flies in our camp, then we noticed more..and more…and that they were biting us and the dogs.

Within 15 minutes our black Pit-Bull Whiskey had sustained hundreds of bites and the fact that she had over 6o black flies clumped on just one of her legs was testament to the fact that things were getting worse.

We rushed the dogs into the 4-Runner, cranked the AC and Ash administered Benadryl to Whiskey as her face grew contorted and swollen from the effects of the bites.

We were legitimately frightened that she was in serious trouble as we struggled to move the entire camp site away from the dunes and closer to the ocean and its forgiving breeze.

Fortunately Whiskey’s condition improved but not before she would vomit on the side of my head as we laid silent in the still midnight air of the new tent.

The next day was spent with Ash hydrating the dogs from the confines of the tent’s interior which we had moved under the shade of our pre-fab tarp.

It was grueling to say the least, as our planned relaxation gave way to taking care of the dogs, (and each other), as the oppressive heat of the day crept on.

But the stars in the sky care not for the concerns of flies, and as we sat underneath their twinkled blanket, things didn’t seem so bad.

The privilege of seeing a “shooting star” as it streaks across a starry sky never loses its luster.

As my concerns grew about having enough fuel in the 4-runner to stow the dogs for an extended period of time we our way back to the ranger station again to pay a premium price for not thinking ahead.

The dogs recovered nicely and on our last full day on the island we moved our awning to the water’s edge where we had a blast plucking blues from the surf as the entire ocean came alive in a concert of gulls, pelicans, and bait fish as they played their parts in a never ending aquatic storyline.

Groggy but feeling better
While the trip failed to provide us with the relaxation we had hoped for, and instead became a test of our resolve, we never lost focus of being together and appreciating the time that we have.

And as we plodded through the channel back to the marina we conspired with the ferry’s first mate on when we would return…