“Rustle, rustle, clatter, BANG, rustle, clatter, grunt, clatter, grunt….Where the hell…clatter, rustle.”
I’m bopping in the little wavelets of the Labuan Bajo mooring field, waiting, patiently. I am very patient, despite what Sonrisa might tell you. A minute earlier, I had mentioned how excited I am to put my Adventure Boat stamp in Coffee’s adventure log. Now, I hear Leslie clattering around and cussing. I think she lost my boat stamp, but I’m not going to get worked up about it. I’m the example of equanimity and patience. If I had feathers, nothing could ruffle them.
“Clatter, bang, clatter…”
“Go ahead, just keep looking. You’ll find it!” I say, just as the clattering stops. “Did you find it?”
“Clatter, bang, rustle, rustle, cuss. Sonrisa! Where are you hiding it? There aren’t that many places you can hide it.” I hear Leslie grumble. Oh, yes, that's all. It’s not lost. Sonrisa’s just playing hide and seek with it. Sonrisa loves playing hide and seek sometimes. She has so many good hidey-holes.
“Crash, clatter, rustle, rustle.”
“Com’mon Sonrisa, hand it over. Coffee’s going to be here any day now!” I say, but Sonrisa just shrugs at me.
“I didn't hide it.” We both listen for a minute to more of Leslie’s clattering.
“You didn’t hide it? You swear it?” I ask, now I am getting nervous. I need my boat stamp. I need it. This is the first big adventure I’ve gotten to take anyone on since we got my boat stamp — well other than Andrew and Leslie of course, but I always take them on adventures. Leslie emerges from below, a little sweaty and wide eyed.
“I can’t find it.” She says, disappointment in her voice.
Now, I panic. “YOU CAN’T STOP LOOKING! COFFEE IS GOING TO BE HERE ANY MINUTE!”
“Don't worry, don’t worry. We’ll find it!” Leslie says and mumbles something to Andrew that sounds like “help me find it or Grin is going to lose his mind.” Yes. I am going to lose my mind. I want my boat stamp! I just got it! How can we lose it this fast! “Sonrisa! Seriously, stop playing around. Where’d you hide it?”
“I didn’t, I really didn’t.” Sonrisa says.
Andrew and Leslie emerge and ask me to take them to town. Seriously, we’re going to town at a time like this? Sullen, I untie my tether and let them hop in. Kitty buzzes along, blissfully unaware of the tragedy that has befallen us. No Adventure Boat stamp!
Coffee and Brian are our boat friends. Andrew and Leslie met them racing on Lake Mead. They have traveled to San Diego countless weekends to help refit Sonrisa and get us all ready to cast off. They met us in our first stop in Ensenada, Mexico and gave us the grand tour as they spend a lot of time in Ensenada themselves. They also met us in Tonga last year, and now they are meeting us here in Labuan Bajo. THEY DESERVE AN ADVENTURE BOAT STAMP!
While we are in town, we learn that there is a delay. Brian didn’t have the requisite six month span of time available on his passport, having only three months until expiration. They were kicked off their flight and had to divert to Connecticut to obtain an emergency passport renewal. I sigh with relief. Extra time to find my stamp.
As we head back to Sonrisa, we are surprised to find her rafted up to KLM Tatawa, the live aboard boat Andrew and Leslie intend to take Coffee and Brian on for four days of scuba diving.
“Pssst!” I say as I pull up to Sonrisa’s deck. “What are you doing?”
Sonrisa just shrugs. “Tatawa needed a mooring, and I need to check her out. So, I invited her to share mine.” This is typical; Sonrisa’s a control freak. She’s not going to let Andrew and Leslie go out on just any boat.
Andrew and Leslie are pretty happy with this situation because they can just toss their scuba equipment over Sonrisa’s rail to Tatawa for safe keeping. When Sonrisa learns “Tatawa” means “to laugh” in Bahasa Indonesian, she decides she approves. She figures a boat named “smile” can allow her crew to spend a couple of days on another boat named “laugh”.
A few days later, we locate the boat stamp sitting right there on the navigation desk the whole time, Coffee and Brian arrive, and the festivities begin:
They start with a night on the town. Andrew finds some fireworks he plans to set off at midnight on New Year's Eve. What could go wrong...?
They hike to a waterfall over a bamboo suspension bridge with questionable structural integrity;
They explore a cave with two cute puppies and a tour guide named William who reminds us to go slowly (plon-plon) because the "clinic is far." He also has a tendency to break out in song at random, playing his “air” guitar. Afterward, they discover coffee prepared the Flores way: finely ground, with a scoop steeped directly in hot water. Just don't forget to leave the sludge at the bottom of your cup!
They take a trip to Sonrisa for “Make it to Midnight Irish Coffees on New Year’s Eve Sunset, then they enjoy a three course New Year’s Eve “Crustacean Crack” at the Atlantis resort.
They enjoy the beach club atmosphere with their toes in the sand, drinking Cucumber Gin and Tonics, Mai Tais and Pina Coladas until midnight. Andrew unknowingly requests that the D.J. play the Indonesian equivalent of “wheels on the bus” and temporarily stops the party.
Leslie steadily moves from chair dancing to full blown cha-cha. Once in a while another in the group might join her, but mostly she’s on her own. Well…except for these Indonesian gentlemen dancing next to the pool, much to their lady-friend’s chagrin.
At midnight, they move to dancing around a bon fire, drinking celebratory champagne and setting off roman candles that almost explode on Captain Andrew’s hand. (There goes our black box of luck reserve…)
(To Be Continued...because there are so many scuba pictures to process!)