(A continuation from Travel Logs: Down Under, Part 1)
Still panting, I squinted up at Jason whose rippled body glistened in the sun, a smile broadening as he cupped his hand to splash me.
“I almost didn’t make it.” I said struggling to balance the board between my legs in a sitting position. Out here, we rose with the waves letting them pass and crash just beyond us, no longer in danger of constantly being consumed by them. There wasn’t another person in sight on shore or in the water. Above massive clouds scattered across the sky with a fierce wind that moved in powerful gusts pulling the water with it. A good bit beyond Jason’s shoulder I watched the ocean splash 15-20 feet in the air up against a jetty of rocks. Captivated, I stared at the spectacle while Jason stared intently at me.
“Have you ever read In a Sunburnt Country?” I asked. He shook his head no. “Oh, well it’s written by a pretty well-known travel writer who mixes in history with personal anecdotes. It claims Australia is home to three of deadliest creatures that live on land, air and sea.”
“Righto, you can’t be soft living down here. Have you ever rode a kneeboard?” I shook my head no. “You’re in for a treat. It’s just like surfing only instead of standing on your feet you kneel on the board. Watch.”
He flipped to his stomach, looked over his shoulder and started paddling. He rode the crest of the wave for a minute before rising to his knees and riding the wave all the way to the sandy shore. He stood up shaking the water from his hair before waving me on. In that moment, I realized how far out to sea we ventured, the furthest I’d ever been. Quickly, I got to paddling just as a wave approached and with relative ease caught it, riding my way to Jason with a huge grin on my face. Once I reached him, I jumped up with my board and said, “Let’s do that again!” And so we did. Getting pass the white water remained a herculean task for me but I managed and Jason stayed patient. After three trips, he told me it was our last one before we had to return to set. When we reached the deep water I sat up on my board and simply said, “Thank you.”
“No problem. A girl like you isn’t meant to sit on the sidelines and watch.” He said from the side of his mouth, eyes dancing in sunlight. Another powerful gust of wind blew in splashing the water against the jetty that was now much closer than before. And this time the waves rolling in weren’t nearly as smooth with increasing wind speeds. Jason took a 360 survey concern furrowing in his brow. “We better get in, the tides are shifting and things can change really fast down here.” I nodded and we both started paddling.
A Warrior Princess