The Fishing Trip
I was sitting in the back of our brand new boat "The River Rhino", a New Zealand designed boat called a StabiCraft, with our dog at my feet. She was quite settled and appeared quite blissful despite the fact she had had her long Golden Retriever coat sheared off a few days earlier, and had gotten all embarrassed about her nakedness. I, on the other hand, was not naked but covered in a pungent mixture of baby oil, methylated spirits and Dettol in an attempt to escape the sandflies, which tend to leave holes in my legs. The sun was shining, the locals had all said the fish were running and I felt quietly confident about the prospect of us actually catching one. The rods were poised, ready in their tailor made holders on either side of the boat.
Gerald starts the motor and we move slowly down the driveway, heading for the boat ramp to launch. I heard the sudden exciting rush of the nylon tackle as the hook caught and it spool out with a wheeeeeeee, and I could see the nylon pulling taut and stretching out further and further as we bounced along. I watched the scene unfold but did not quite take it in until we had travelled some distance. Then galvanized into action, I pounded the side of the boat with my fist, screaming ‘Stop! Stop! Geraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaald!’ No response. The line kept spinning out. Bang, bang, bang on the side of the boat and ‘Geraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaald! Stop!!!!’ No response. Bang, bang bang, as we continue in a stately manner down the road.
Ever so slowly, the cars slows, turns the corner and stops.
He sticks his head out of the window, clearly pissed off. ‘WHAT?’
‘Your fishing rod. The hook got stuck in a tree back in our driveway.’
His face remains impassive. He climbs out the car, takes in me and the dog sitting in the boat on the back of the trailer of the car he is driving to the boat ramp and sees the fishing line stretched taut for a couple of hundred meters around the corner and down the road. He struggles with his emotions - but only for a moment - trying to decide how he can preserve his dignity and salvage the situation, and eventually decides on an expression somewhere between ‘I thought I would see how far I could stretch the fishing line’ and ‘Oh-shit this is embarrassing’.
Moet and I wait patiently as he removes the fishing rod from the holder and standing tall, rod in hand, following the fishing line, a mobile fisherman walking down the road, reeling in a palm tree.
But, dear reader, that is not all.
I have regained control of myself and have no trace of a smile left on my face by the time he returns to where we are parked, somewhat dangerously, in the middle of the road not too far from the boat ramp. Avoiding my gaze and in silence, he places the rod into the boat, and climbs back into the car to drive the vehicle the short distance to our launching pad.
The launch goes well. We are newcomers to this game, and have already had some spectacular mishaps, but hey, life is an adventure, no? I surprise myself with my nautical skills and following instructions, I push him, Moet and the boat out on the river; and I climb nimbly - if I do say so myself - into the boat. Clearly distracted, he has unfortunately left the keys to the boat in the car a short walk from the boat ramp. I jump out of the boat, not so nimbly, into thigh deep water and clasping a rope, drag us back to shore. He climbs out, remembers to retrieve his thongs, and squelches off back to the car park, whilst I stand, nonchalantly, holding the boat. Moet peers over the side, uncertain of this turn of events. There are two men mowing lawns nearby who are paying much too much attention to our situation.
I cannot resist the temptation and call our son in Sydney to share our latest boating incident, and by the time my husband returns, I am straight faced and ready for the Captain’s commands. We repeat our earlier first rehearsal, he gets into the boat, subdues the dog who is by now fed up and trying to get out the boat and join me on the shore, again I push them out, and this time the engine purrs into life, I wade through the water, and am about to climb into the boat, when he says ‘Shit’. ‘What now? ’ I say. ‘I’ve left the depth finder in the car’.
I lose all restraint and dissolve.
We eventually launched and sailed, incident free, to Greenwell Point. We never caught any fish, but I bought some nice grilled cod at the kiosk and some hot chips, which the three of us shared in the sunshine. Then, feeling confident, we explored the river before a threatening storm sent us home.
We are thinking of a new adventure next month, travelling beyond the river mouth, across the bar and out to the sea.
After all, what else could go wrong?