Robert rigged a canvas sea anchor to hold the yacht in place and called out, "Get ready to lay it over the side."
He watched as Carl and Thad set the material on the back corner of the boat as they were taught. He figured the five college friends on the trip would appreciate the break. It wouldnít put them behind schedule too much. The yacht was about two hundred miles from the South American coast, and he couldnít have asked for better sailing conditions. A couple days on the island so Connie could visit her ancestorís grave, and theyíd head back to California and the monotony of everyday life.
Connie, Robertís girlfriend, took the wheel and steered while he went back to help release the anchor. In a couple of minutes, the rode played out, and he called for her to cut the engine. The sea anchor was set, and they could now play. Robert released and lowered the dive platform into the water, unfolded the ladder and allowed it to drop below the platform. He wanted access back on the boat to be as easy as possible. Looking around, he realized he was the only one left on the boat-everyone else was in the water.
Thad and Brenda sat facing each other, laughing as they straddled a plastic raft. Kristy was on an air mattress with Carl hanging on the side.
Robert cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted, "You ungrateful bunch of assholes. You leave me to do all the work and... "
A hard shove from behind sent him off the boat and into the water. Surfacing, he looked back and saw Connie laughing. He obviously missed seeing her on the boat. So, with no other option, he joined the others swimming in the warm water.
For revenge he called out, "Since youíre the last one there, you have to stay aboard for safety."
"Right," she yelled back.
Robert swam closer to the boat and said, "Seriously, someone has to be onboard at all times in case the line to the anchor breaks or something."
Connie stood up straight and put her hands on her hips said, "You did that on purpose."
"Right," Robert responded with a grin, "I couldnít wait to fling myself in the water to get to you." He swam to where Kristy floated on the mattress and grabbed hold beside Carl.
Kristy and Carl were friends of Robert and Connie from college much the same as Thad and Brenda. Although Robert and Connie were the only actual couple, the other men had hopes this trip might change that.
"You never did tell us," Carl said. "Where did you and Connie meet?"
Robert snickered. "We met at the annual UCSD party at the San Diego Yacht Club."
"No wonder youíre both so good with this boat," Kristy said.
"Yeah, we only dated a couple of times, and then I guess you could say we got serious."
"She said sheís been on a couple of offshore trips as part of your crew." Kristy was shaking her head.
"Not as part of a crew," Robert corrected. "She was the only crew. Of course, we only went to Santa Catalina Island for one trip and Santa Cruz Island on the second. Neither of them are much of a trip."
"I heard getting your Captainís license is a bitch," Carl said.
"Not really," Robert answered. "All I have is a six-pack license, which means I can only take a maximum of six people out at a time."
"Still, itís an accomplishment," Kristy said. "Iím impressed Connie knows what to do so well."
"Not only does she know what to do, but sheís been the source of a couple of discussions between some middle aged men and their wives."
"I donít doubt it," Carl said grinning.
Kristy playfully splashed water in his face.
"How deep is it here?" Thad asked treading water close by.
"I donít know for sure," Robert answered, "but I imagine itís at least a mile."
"You actually think its five thousand feet deep?" Carl questioned.
"Actually, it wouldnít surprise me if it was more, maybe closer to two miles. The Pacificís deep."
"Is it usually this calm?" Kristy asked.
"Not usually during the day," Robert answered. "However the nightís a different story. It can become so calm at night you wonít think youíre on water."
"So, youíve been sailing for four or five years, right?" Thad asked as he swam up.
"Nope, Iíve been sailing almost all my life," Robert answered. "I started at about ten with my father. He has over twenty trophies in yachting."
"I didnít know you were into racing," Kristy said.
"Iím not," he assured her. "My father was. I love the water, but the racingís too much stress. I simply enjoy getting away from the rat race. I take a boat out into the bay and let the wind carry my troubles away."
"I never thought to ask," Thad said, "but youíre actually qualified to make this trip, right?"
"A little late for that question isnít it?" Brenda asked.
Robert grinned. "Actually, this isnít much of a trip. We can do this standing on our heads. Now, if it was any longer, Iíd have thought about it more closely."
Robert only swam a short time before climbing back aboard the boat to relieve Connie. She gave him a kiss on the cheek and immediately joined the others in the water.