Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Sunday in the Sun

This was supposed to be another day of independent adventuring, but it didn't work out that way. En route to my next adventure, I got a call from my better half - her weekend-long party had broken up early. So, I arranged to meet her and Miss P in the nearest convenient town for some lunch. Miss P is she-who-must-be-obeyed's (Miss C's) closest friend in the city where we now live - they work side by side for the same company, and play the same sports and musical instruments.

Post lunch, I succeeded in persuading both of the ladies that learning to surf would be just the way to pass the afternoon, on the same nearby beach that I had found the previous day with Mr. T.

Miss P was the first into her hired suit and onto the sand, where I attached to her ankle a long leash, the other end of which was tethered to a 9ft board (her first time on a proper surf board).
Miss C soon joined us. Now, she is a lady who likes water very well - so long as she can keep her head clear of it. She was attached by a short leash to my body board, which is made from polyeurathane foam (stiff enough to be useful, but soft enough not to threaten skulls or teeth). My great advantage on this occasion was a certain friendly rivalry which exists between the Misses - both are extremely competitive, and very hesistant indeed to cede the other an advantage. So, Miss C was obliged to borrow a little of the carefree attitude of Miss P, and moved into the surf very bravely. She did show a certain diffidence in the face of advancing waves, but overcame it: I made encouraging noises, turned her nose to the shore, and let her launch on the next wave - saw her vanish, screaming, in the foam - happy-nervous screams.

Miss P, meanwhile, was struggling to mount the big board - she would point it at the shore and lie crossways on it, or she would lie straight on, but point the board across the oncoming wave, with rather sorry and unsatisfactory results - spending a lot of time underneath the water, and in fact, an innocent onlooker fresh-arrived from some land-bound territory might have supposed from her activities that surf-riding is a sub-marine activity. Grasping her board firmly at the stern, I talked her into the correct position, waited for an appropriate wave, made a final steering adjustment and gave an encouraging shove. Success! The long board floats very well, and Miss P rode it clear into the sand before dismounting - big smile!

There followed many a launch and mislaunch: Miss C growing in confidence with every new trial, and perfectly well able to catch her own rides. Miss P faced a more technically demanding proposition, and came to grief with a correspondingly greater frequency. As for me, mostly boardless on this occasion - well, to play in the shorebreak on a sunny Sunday afternoon with two lovely young ladies all aglow with fun, and that fun edged, sharpened by the hint of danger they saw in the sea - it was a Kodak moment.

It seemed that affairs were proceeding almost too smoothly, and sure enough, Murphy's law soon caught up with us. Miss C exchanged vehicles with Miss P, and that is where the trouble started. Miss C's first ride or two were a great success, me launching her with greate care, and observing the happy results with great satisfaction. However, I must have become neglectful of her trim: a later launch saw two small feet move skywards from the crest of a shoreward-running wave: these then vanished downwards into the foam, and were replaced by a most surprising sight. Small though the shorebreak was - two to three feet - the wave had enough power to spit that 9ft board skywards, completely clear of the water: I watched it reach apogee and fall back in treacle-slow nightmare-motion. Imagine my relief to see a spluttering and utterly sea-soaked Miss C emerge unscathed from beside the splash-down site! Sadly, the experience soured her somewhat on that board - she missed its sky-larking antics, but did not enjoy the dip, whose blame she placed squarely (and not unjustly) at my feet.

Miss P was returned to the long board, and had some fun, turnabout with myself, who had a few nice stand-up rides (Miss P remarking that I spent more time looking around for an audience than attending to my balance, in which she was probably quite right). Sadly, this adventure was to end in bloody violence: a launch of Miss P assisted by myself ended in a spill (she was maybe too far forward, and the nose pitched down) in which the board oncemore rose skyward. Miss P was up already from her plunge, and was ready for the first touch down, which missed her - only for a following wave to grab the board and run it into her mouth. Approaching in the clumsy half-run that waist-deep water forces, I discovered her bleeding a little in the mouth from a small cut and somewhat shocked, but otherwise intact. Relief, and guilt, in equal measures!
We left the water then, and returned to our seperate vehicles to change.

Remembering what Mr. T. had told me about his walk, I took My Lady and Miss P along the westward shore, which was just as scenic as promised. There were rocks for me to scramble on - haven't done that in a while - and we found the sea-arch quite easily. The cave was trickier - but was identified by the hollow slap-sigh sound that rose up a steep and grassy gully which disappeared into a sheer bedrock-walled drop. We could just make out blue water below, and since this pool was seperated from the sea by dry land overhead, we had our cave - but, being with My Lady, I was forbidden from going too deep in the gully. I obeyed: but will surely return some other day, when the swell is low. I will approach carefully from the sea, perhaps on a line, and try to enter from the seaward side and climb out by the gully - now that will be an Adventure!

This was not an Adventuring day, though - so I lay in the soft grass of the upper gully with the Misses, under the warmth of the sun and the soft breeze. There were apples from Miss P, there was gentle limbs-locked lazing with Miss C, and later snapshots - sea-side Eden.

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