Road Trip the Third: A Parting of Ways
Trip Start Dec 03, 2004
85Trip End Nov 31, 2005
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The landscape on the way to Carnarvon seemed to have been born out of fire, black, twisted, ashy, metallic. We pulled into Carnarvon itself; the wind was in the mangroves and the palms and sheeting the water in over mudflats.
"Yuck," I commented. "I don't want to spend too long here." Donna grimaced in agreement but Ian---Ian wants to fish
"We lookin' for a greenie?" the ringleader says to the other two.
"Mebbe, mebbe," one spits out through his mangled teeth. "We might be lookin' for a cook, too. Can you cook?" I figure out after a second that he's looking at me.
"I suppose I could," I say, cautiously, because I already have visions of me vomiting into the stew on a fishing boat. The fishermen probably wouldn't notice that they were eating vomit, but I'm not sure I fancy that sort of existence.
"Come back tomorrow at 11:00 and the skipper will be here," the ringleader says decisively, thrusting out a hand for us to shake. We do and then we skedaddle right quick. The next morning there's an interminable period of waiting where the skipper isn't there and something else is wrong and nobody's talking and so we walk over to the other jetty where the big local company, NorWest, ships out from, and go into the office. Ian asks at the desk if they're looking for anyone and the guy says, I know there are boats that are short crew.
So he has a job. The boats go out for three weeks straight, no landings, and this three week period begins today. At 1:30 in the afternoon. And it's now 12:30. So he'll be leaving in an hour. We've heard horror stories: the newbies having to wrestle tiger sharks off the deck, people high on copious drugs in an effort to stay awake for the long hours, people getting bit by poisonous things and getting gangrenous arms and almost losing them . . . and so on. Ian looks like he has major stomach butterflies.
We drag his stuff plus the beer down onto the dock and I help him throw it onto the boat. Then it's time for goodbye. It is a tough goodbye and he says, "I promise I'll see you again when I'm done with this," and I expect there are sailors on the dock having a bit of a laugh at the expense of the girl who's crying behind her sunglasses on the way back to the car. But maybe the sailors have said goodbyes that are tough before, too, and are shaking their heads in pity.
Donna drives the rest of the afternoon and we make it as far as Coral Bay, which you shall learn all about in the next installment of . . . "The Road Trip Journal!"