1. Please stop talking about "Jaws." 2. Is anyone reMOTELY concerned that we have no oars?! 3. Your face reminds me of live bait, my dear. 4. Well....The fin in the water
The summer following high school graduation, my little surfer girl Peggy Sue and I wandered up and down California, having a good ol' time... and some misadventures too. We'd met some friends at Long Beach, and they'd showed us their latest toy: a giant kite raft! About 12 feet in diameter, it could be towed behind a boat, and it would become airborne. It was meant to hold only one person, but Peggy and I were slender lightweight teenagers. What did we know. Further, it was meant to be towed on a short, hundred foot rope, but (and this was my dumb idea) we were going to use a thousand feet of line, so we could go higher. Well, their speedboat was towing, moving into the 25 mph wind, and quickly Peggy and I were airborne! It was exhilarating seeing the ocean drop away, seeing the beach houses of Belmont Shores, seeing the people look like ants... We must have been about six hundred feet up. Yup, a tremendous gust of wind came up, and the line snapped. The wind carried us away from the boat, away from the beach, away, away into the sky. "It's gonna hurt when we hit," Peggy said. Yup. It sure did. All these years later I still wince thinking about that belly-smacker. The inflation of the raft prob'ly saved our lives. I looked around. Not a ship in sight. No land in sight. I lay back down in the kite/raft. "Is anyone REMOTELY concerned that we have no oars?!" asked Peggy. She grabbed her little waterproof radio and switched it on. "We interrupt this program for a special announcement," the radio said. "Two teenagers have been lost on a kite at sea, off Long Beach. Search and rescue efforts are under weigh." Good. Our friends with the speedboat had lost no time in calling in that they'd misplaced us, and their expensive kite/raft. "Maybe we could swim for it," said Peggy. I looked dubious. "No sign of land, and, well... the fin in the water is a bit of a deterrent!" I pointed at some fins breaking the waves. I knew they were dolphins, but Peggy didn't. "Not to mention, I can't swim." "Please stop talking about 'Jaws.'" said Peggy. The movie had come out a couple of years ago, and it still gave her the willies sometimes. Hadn't stopped her from surfing, though. The afternoon wore on, then the dusk, and the evening. The sea glowed with phosphorescence around us. I could see glowing comb jellies swimming, and here and there, lithe faster torpedo shapes among them. "My sunburn is itching!" said Peggy. "I'm itching too," I said. "I have sand in all of my crevices." It was getting hard to speak. We were both horribly thirsty. I reached down into the water and grabbed one of the squid. "Your face reminds me of live bait, my dear," I said to the squid, then I bit into its head to kill it. I shared my calamari sushi with Peggy Sue. I'd never tasted anything so good, except maybe Rocky Road Ice Cream. We washed ashore on one of the Channel Islands at about noon the following day, and were found by the resident ranger. She called in a helicopter to airlift us to a mainland hospital (dehydration, sunburn, bruising, one broken rib). Epilogue: Don't bother looking for those kite/rafts. They were FINALLY taken off the market last year; there had been just too many accidents and incidents and injuries involving these things. Edit: Check the link -- the one Peggy and I were using was bigger than this, and made by a different company. I don't mean to cast aspersions on the product. I want to emphasize that it was my dumb idea to use a weaker, longer line; the flight was fun right up to the time the line broke.