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Swimmin' Part IV

So I swim back to the Gentle Wilderness, drop off my spear (I could care less about fishing at this point) and start to swim back to the sea-lion central.

Now, of course, certain things didn't occur to me at this juncture. One; the sea-lion outweighted me by a good two hundred pounds. Two; I was in his element. Three; I'm a moron.

But to paraphrase Daffy Duck, I may be a moron, but I'm a PROUD moron and there was no way I was leaving things between us the way they were.

Slowly I approached the scene of the vicious attack on my poor, little, spear-fishing self. Just floating along the surface, breathing gently, trying not to make to much noise . . .I scanned the ocean floor below me. And, of course, the first thing I saw? The two-foot sea bass I'd been hunting earlier. I looked at my empty hands.


Just as I readied myself to return to the boat, the sea-lion swam back into the scene about twenty yards ahead of me. He swam down behind a giant boulder--the same boulder behind which the sea-bass had previously hid--and didn't come out.

I sucked in a quick breath and submerged. I immediately went deep to the bottom and then skimmed the surface to the boulder. At any moment I expected the sea-lion to emerge from one side or the other, but it didn't happen. My quarry was still there, on the other side, oblivious to my approach. I slid through the water like an eel, then crested the boulder, looked down . . .

And was immediately struck in the chest by the head of the sea-lion.


I went ass-over-tea kettle, flailed about in an attempt to re-orient myself, and swam to the surface.

I was joined immediately after by those same damned, black, mocking orbs.

Urhhh! Urhhhh! Urhhh!

Twice in one day.

Then thrice.

And, just to prove that I'm not a quitter, four times.

Mark Twain said it best. "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then give up. There's no use being a damned fool about it."

Well Mr. Clemens, I have only two words for you: Too late.

I swam back to the Wilderness, devoid of fish, beaten, battered and bruised. The whole trip there I was accompanied by the soothing sounds of "Urhhh! Urhhh! Urhhh!"

Which is sea-lion for: "And you thought WHAT again?"

The moral of the story?

Mother Nature, in spite of her femininity, will always have a bigger set of balls than you. And, AND, she'll bitch-slap you something fierce if you force her to prove it.

So, that evening, we sat out under the stars, the Gentle Winderness rocking gently beneath us while the wind whistled through the rigging, and we had steak.

Not seafood.


After all, somehow, someway, we had to get back to shore the next day . . .

(To be continued.)

Joseph Haines, signing off from The Edge of the Abyss.

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