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manta ballet

Last night we scrapped sleep in favor of some amazing time in the studio - a decision I suspected I might come to regret by the look of the ocean before tonight’s tours.

The winter swells are warning their arrival. For now the mouth of the bay is like a washing machine, rolling waves bouncing off the cliffs and back, knocking us around. It’s like this anyway sometimes; with the shape of the coastline and where we jump in. But every night is also different and this had personality to it — playful maybe, silly and strong.

Some currents are visible at the surface and others don’t reveal themselves until you enter them. Then you’re at their mercy, this massive rush of liquid motion, just inside the gaping maw of the ocean, near its chomping at the rocky shore.

I crack jokes along the way. I really just need to be awake and alert for this.

My Captain is a mighty counterpart: a small and fierce woman, tan with light eyes, strong legs and full lips. She cooly parallel parks our sailing canoe between the bigger boats. I stand on the bow, knees bent, pretending I’m skate-boarding, or snow boarding or surfing. I try to impress the tourists behind me, poised, ready to tie and cleat. I use legs more than back.

She tells me how to move and what to improve. She (nicely) asks the bigger boats to scoot when they’re hogging the dock and more directly reminds neighboring captains to mind their manners when they’re acting dangerously oblivious. Her candidness is refreshing.

Earlier today, after 4 elective hours of sleep I woke up before daybreak and drove to Waimea, laughing uproariously at my son’s impersonations during the 1.5 hr. commute to his school. I walked by a river and watched 2 pueos surf the roadside winds driving back. I buckled down and combed through 8 months of records and put a dent in my other work.

Then we took 2 tours out on the water this evening. I slipped and skidded and nearly fell off the boat a number of times. On our last tour we were the only boat out. 4 of us on the surface with 4 mantas below, a beautiful dancing manta ballet, belly to belly with our board. When we were finished the Captain and I sat on the edge of the canoe and met minds over a hot cup of soup and fat slices of avocado from a neighboring boat, with a few deep breaths in between.


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