The Making of a Kite Widow (AKA Steve's Castaway Moment)Oct 12, 2006 Dominican Republic My Adventures
Ok, so here I find myself about 2 miles from where I first launched my kite, on the opposite peninsula across Salinas Bay. I can’t see whether Leslie is still on the beach not panicking, or maybe she’s already alerted the tourist police to come and fetch me. That could be expensive and would definitely be embarrassing, so I hope not. At least not yet.
Maybe the wind will pick back up and I can cross back over. As it was, the wind was so light I could only go to my right (downwind). Going back to the left (upwind) is gonna require about 17-20 knots and right now we got about 10. Well, yesterday it blew around 20 for more than 5 hours, so there’s hope.
Damn am I thirsty. Plus I’ve got that nasty saltwater taste in my mouth. Should’ve brought some water. Should’ve brought a backpack with a walkie-talkie or phone so I could call for help in moments like this. Oh well, it’s a pretty nice beach here. I can just hang out for a bit and wait for the wind to pick back up. Plus there’s a couple wooden boats anchored about 100 yards out, with local fisherman snorkeling for something or other. I could maybe get a ride back with one of those guys. And there’s supposedly a road somewhere around here, I could always walk to it and hitchhike. No shoes though. That option’s gonna be painful.
Holy crap am I thirsty. And it’s friggin hot. Must be 90 degrees and the sun is beating down at full force. Gotta find a tree and get some shade. Gotta land the kite first. Here goes. Crap, right in that thorn tree. Better go pull it out. Shite! There’s cactus here. Pull the thorns out of my feet, and then go pull the kite out of the thorn tree. And watch where you step this time.
Ok, let’s find some shade. There’s a cool tree over there next to that abandoned wooden boat. Hey, check it out! There’s some limes and an emptied 2 liter Coke bottle with some condensed water in it. I wonder if I can drink that? There’s a bunch of ants crawling around in it, so it must not be too terribly poisonous.
I need to find something to name Wilson.
Ok, just enjoy the shade and the beautiful beach for a while. I hope Leslie is not getting too worried. She’s usually pretty reasonable in times like these. It would be a lot more fun being a castaway here if she were here with me. This sucks, and the mosquitoes and no-see-ums are eating me alive. Where the heck is the wind!?!? Just relax. Don’t panic.
Oh brother, one of the guys in his wooden boat just left. That leaves only one other guy. Maybe it is time to panic. Is that thunder I just heard? Oh boy, looks like a real nice thunderstorm is approaching. I’d better go talk to him. I can’t even see him, he must be under water. I’ll wait till he pops up. Could I sleep here tonight if I really had to? Maybe I could overturn that abandoned boat. I hope it doesn’t come to that. I’m hot, hungry, thirsty, and itchy.
How about a lime? Still juice in there? Oh yeah, baby. That’s yummy, and get’s rid of some of the saltwater taste. That ant laden water still doesn’t look good.
There’s the guy! Getting in his boat to leave!!! I start running towards him, waving frantically. He smiles and waves back. No bro, this is not just a friendly greeting, I am in desperate need of some help! "Amigo! Amigo!" I don’t think he can hear me. He’s too far out in the water. Only one thing to do now. I jump in the water and start swimming towards him. It’s pretty far, but maybe if I start drowning he’ll be more likely to come to my aid.
Cool, he’s starting the engine and coming towards me. Now I can switch to a leisurely backstroke paddle. Things are looking up!
"Hola, habla Ingles?" (Do you speak English, because my Spanish is pretty poco?)
"Va a ir a Las Salinas hoy?" (You gonna go back over to Las Salinas today?)
Cool! Peachy! That completely rocks!!!
Anyway, long story short he helps me gather my junk and takes me back over to Leslie. During the ride we speak a bit in broken Spanish and he shows me his catch: 23 beautiful conch shells for him to sell at the fish market. His name is Leonardo and I’ve never been so happy to get a boat ride in my life. Later that evening me and Leslie have a beer with him and he introduces us to his family. He is such a nice guy. Won’t accept any money so I give him a T-shirt as a small token of my appreciation. As we’re talking about his job, he asks if we’d like a conch shell as a souveiner. This guy is too good to be true! Sure, we do, and it has been soooo nice to meet you.
Anyway, it could have turned out much, much worse. At least I didn’t have to eat slimy sea life for days on end. Even better, Leslie hadn’t gotten married to anyone else by the time I returned!
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