Of course it’s great that Dusty is regularly near the boat, but on closer analysis it is, just like all other toys, something that stands in the way of a direct encounter. She is fascinated by my fabrication, which, by the way, also to the human eye is of odd make-up, in view of the number of binoculars I saw focused on it. Also it has inspired nomenclature. Paul called it ‘The Thunderbird’, which, particularly when observed from under water, fits as a hilarious futurism. Tempting fate, George suggested, ‘The Jantanic’, but that one I already had. ‘The Meeting Point’ not only sums up my striving, but, as it turned out yesterday, is also in a literal sense irresistibly macabre.
Yesterday I met Ian again and remarked that at high tide the boat seemed to look farther out than at the low tide of that moment. I revealed to him my insight that this was not only caused by the ‘trompe d’oeuil’ effect of the shorter water span, but also because at low tide more mooring rope would come free. Hardly had my words left my lips when I had to admit that now the boat indeed was pretty close to the strand. A little later it washed up.
Now I intended to go into the water anyway and moreover, by way of premonition, I had taken a few metres of plastic rope with me from the meadow. When a little later I arrived at the boat, the problem became clear to me in its full content. It was still filled to the rim with water and this made it so heavy I could not move it. In addition the waves had washed it rather into the sand. No cunning could prevent hard labour, so I positioned myself at the rear of the craft and started to dog-paddle the water out. Meanwhile long waves shot by in the corner of my eye, so every now and then I did not know whether it was coming or going.
Now I am always lucky in insignificant matters which I sometimes can turn into my favour. The boat had stranded just before the tide turned, which had already started to rise again. When I had cupped out about half of the water the waves had come close enough to at times carry the boat, but only in the wrong direction. I began to make use of these moments by pulling the attached plastic rope, which painfully cut into my hands, to float the boat. When I had wrestled it into knee-deep water, I turned it upside down, lifted it at the rear, so most of the water dropped out and then rolled it back. Now it lay substantially higher in the water and I could start to swim it back to the buoy.
In an earlier edition I have mentioned the suction power of high waves. Of course this also goes for the boat, even to a stronger extent, as it now weighed considerably less than me.
The first time I did not realise this and got nearly harpooned when it dashed towards me with unsuspected velocity.
Now I had doubled up the rope when I tied it trough the hole in the protruding point of the meadow pole. Like a matador, pursued by a unicorn, I swam backwards to the buoy. At the tying down of the boat I took the cone part under my arm. The hemp rope, that had initially secured it, was still attached, tired and frayed, to the mooring rope.
A little later my toil was rewarded when Dusty surfaced and with her the new quest. On the one hand I want to keep the attraction of the boat, on the other I hope to let Dusty get used to the idea that it can also be good fun away from the boat. Therefore yesterday I swam away from the boat three times into the direction of the right-hand shore as the water is usually clearer there. Dusty came along and I gave her two intensive massages with sea lace. This grows just offshore, away from the boat, so for her this is a bonus reason to come along.
Next Friday I’m leaving. First for Dublin, to have free treatment at the dental academy and on Monday I’ll drive over to Holland. The 13th of November I will be back. That’s why I want to swim with Dusty as much as I can to motivate her to keep coming to White Strand. But yesterevening I got the chills in my belly and I tried to sweat it out, wrapped up in three sleeping bags. It’s still there, so I think it is wise not to go into the water today. But that is easy for me to say for I have not yet seen Dusty. To be frank, I silently hope today will not see a clash between my reason and my emotions, as this, to quote Amy, might turn into a ‘losing game’.