Snapshots from Fishing

“We really don’t need to leave until 5:45 if we have to be there by 6:30. Seriously.”
“Okay, but I don’t think it will take us that long to get there. Especially that early in the morning.”
“All right. I’ll see you at 5:00.”

He picked me up at 5:00. He had a coffee. I looked around the car. Where was my cup? We arrived at the docks at 5:38. I knew it wouldn’t take us that long to get there. The boat didn’t set sail until 7:00 am. I knew at that point we could never travel together.

It was a rough ride out to the Farralon Islands. One woman in particular had a rough time with it. For almost the entire day she was leaning over the edge of the boat, throwing up into the turbulent waters below. One of the deckhands, a young, sturdy woman named Andrea, chided her, “Honey. Don’t throw up into the wind. You’ll get it all over you. Go to the other side of the boat.” As she lead the sick one away, she rolled her eyes. “How long have you been doing this?” I asked her. “Too long. Too long…”

Andrea came around, collecting money for the “jackpot.” Biggest fish, winner take all. I was cranky. I had had no coffee, I had had to stand on the dock for over an hour waiting to board the boat, and I was questioning my judgment for agreeing to go deep sea fishing on a first date. “Nope – not interested,” I responded. Which surprised me. I’ve never refused a bet before. Whatever. I’d never been fishing before, there was no way I’d win a silly pool.

“Could you give me some help over here? I think my line is caught on someone else’s…” The captain came over, and helped me navigate along the side of the boat. Under some people’s lines, over others. He finally turned to me. “I think you’ve got a live one. Start reeling it in.” I did. And did. And did. I braced myself against the edge of the boat and cranked as hard as I could, the line getting tauter and tauter. I watched as a huge fish splashed this way and that, not willing to be pulled out of the water. The captain helped me reel it in; it was by far the biggest catch of the day.

The rest of the afternoon I kept hoping someone else would catch a bigger fish, so that I wouldn’t have won, but not won, the pool. No one did. Everyone was amazed that I, the only woman not sea sick, caught the biggest fish. I was bummed I hadn’t paid the $5 to enter the pool. Hindsight….

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