A group of friends wanted to go to Hawaii for the weekend so we all bunched up and flew off in to the setting sun for some waves in Waikiki.
Landing in Honolulu late on a Friday night pretty much leaves one option open for things to do and that is head out on the town. I've never been much of one for drinking but nobody was going to be driving so I let my guard down for an evening of blue fruity thingies with umbrellas and heaps of vodka. For a man with the dimensions of an NFL offensive linebacker I am a classic lightweight but at least I fall in to the category of being a happy drunk. It was all good. Mostly good.
It turned sad for a moment when we finally got back to the hotel where we flipped on the television in time to watch live feed from the Princess Diana funeral in London at Westminster Abbey. (What a surreal, out of body thing to deal with: drunk in Hawaii and watching a funeral!) Glad to be back safely in our rooms we, as over-indulged boozehounds sometimes manage, had plans to go sailing at dawn in barely four hours time.
The sailing started with me confidently announcing that I don't get sea sick and I was right for the entire outward bound cruise with a following wind. The setting couldn't have been better: it was a perfectly clear day to be on the waters around Hawaii. Diamond Head from offshore beats any view from the landside and I was riding in rhythm with the seas, enjoying a light chop and mild wind moving us along at a good clip towards the east. The only thing missing was "Southern Cross" by Crosby, Stills and Nash!
I surely could have used some kind of cross on the way back for all the praying I did over the side of that boat! They didn't tell a brother about having to tack against the wind going back the way we came. And the four friends no man ever wants to have went with me the whole way. First, there was Earl. "D'ye rrrememberrr mee?" he trilled in his whiskeyed brogue as he reacquainted me with all of the unfinished booze from the night before. The splashes hitting the water served as a call to order for all the fish in the depths below: they came rushing up to the surface with cracked ice and olives, and we were just getting started.
My second new best buddy Ralph decided he wanted a piece of the action and helped me pour a second round of drinks to the seafood below me who were by now swimming in the wake on their backs in really mellow lazy 8s. Ralph is the one who likes to torment to the point of not being able to come up for air and he was in rare form today. I couldn't stand any more of this bunch and careened from side to side to the hatchway where I went below to try and get away from the merrily bouncing horizon.
"And where do you think you're going," called out Bert, my third BFF, who fixed me with an evil smirk and promptly rushed me back up on deck to satisfy the demanding marine life who were by now slamming empty schooners against the sideboards looking for more. True to his reputation, Bert helped to prime the pump because more froth and gas was spouting from the tap than anything else. The fish were not amused while my companions and I seemed barely a furlong closer to the end of this agony. Diamondhead, once proud and majestic, now turned its nose up in scorn and derision.
"Leave him alone, boys, you've had enough." I looked to the sky to thank my benefactor only to feel the now blistering heat of the sun in my eyes as Gavin, the most sinister of them all, made his presence known. "I didn't say that I'd had enough," he oozed as I went once more chin first over the side, white-knuckled on the railing. Gavin is also known as the Dry One. He prodded and poked mercilessly at my sides and slapped me on the back causing me to hunch and churn in violent convulsions, salty tears now the only offerings for the liquored up fish below who slowly descended in to the depths, bubbling disgusted curses over last call.
We eventually made it back to port where I staggered off the boat, a sickly greenish-brown around the gills. Looking back to the sea I tried to remember the fun I had at first but only glimpsed my four fair weather buddies skittering off over the waves to find a new friend to go sailing with, the backstabbers.
The red-eye back to the mainland couldn't get there fast enough.