We arrived on Santa Rosa three days ago at 11:00 a.m. The Captain assured us that the boat’s schedule would be identical on Wednesday, our departure date. Be at the pier by 2:00 p.m. From the beach near our campground, we watched the Islander pull away from the pier and give a farewell toot of its horn. It was 2:56 p.m.
It is now Wednesday. We have had a lot of time to think about a lot of things. I am already on Page 350 of Moby Dick. I started the book yesterday. It is 11:00 a.m. and we decide to read some more. We walk to one of Santa Rosa’s beautiful white sand beaches.
It is a little windy today. Pages 351-360 are slow going. Sand has wedged in between those pages and has wallpapered my back. There is no boat at the pier. It is 11:45 a.m. 12:00 noon. Still no boat. Binoculars are out. Nothing in the horizon.
I do not need to go there but I do. I turn to Gab, with my most sincere voice, “What if nobody picks us up?” At this point, I just want to make her nervous. It is 12:15 p.m. Then I get to thinking. We are the only ones on Santa Rosa getting picked up. There are obviously no day-trippers. Would I travel two hours out of my way to pick up two people? With gas prices what they are nowadays?
No, I wouldn’t. I would tell them we had boat troubles, or something, and pick them up on Friday when I have a full boat of tourists coming to Santa Rosa.
OK, maybe I wouldn’t be that unscrupulous but I sure would think about it.
It is 12:30 p.m. and I am starting to get nervous. Gab is nearing full panic. There was no need for me to even think about the boat not coming. It was a bit sadistic to mention it, out loud even, to someone prone to worrying. But it happened and now I’m worried.
Let’s go back to the campsite. We need to pack up and hike the mile and a half to the pier. It is 12:45 p.m. We need to get moving.
Now there is a Ranger at the campsite. Phew. He is unloading bags of concrete. Is that a good sign? Gab asks him about the boat. He tells her that it left late and just arrived on the Island. We must have missed it. That is odd. It is 1:00 p.m.
We pack up the tent, clear the campsite and load our packs. I am still not sure about the boat. Gab seems a little relieved. I try to pull my backpack straps tighter. Too tight in fact. I break one of them. Now I am anxious and angry. It is 1:20 p.m. and we have to get moving.
After some tense words, we get to a vista point, a place where we can see the pier. We simultaneously rip our binoculars from our hips. It is 1:30 p.m. We already know what we see. No boat.
Gab has a theory. “There are no passengers coming to Santa Rosa, right.” “Right,” where is she going with this? “Well, they probably are just docked around the corner, surfing.” This makes more sense than anything I can come up with. I am a little at ease and I think she is too. Maybe.
We get to the pier at 1:59 p.m. There is no one here. No boats. No Rangers. No Archeologist Passengers (They came to the Island with us). No nobody. Nothing on the horizon. Nothing in the binoculars. Nada nada nada nada nada. They wouldn’t leave us, would they. I think that it is a good thing we did not make hotel reservations for tonight.
2:15 p.m. and still nothing. “Gab, maybe you should go to the main road and see if there is anyone, Ranger or whatever in sight.” “OK,” and she leaves. I wonder why I still have my backpack on. So I take my pack off and sit on it.
I stand up. Something is moving in the distance and its coming fast. Could it be. It’s 2:25 p.m. I look through my binocs. Yes, yes, yes, it is! I am an idiot, why did I even think…
…where’s Gab. She left ten minutes ago. I hope she didn’t walk back to the campsite or even worse, the two miles to the Ranger residence. I sprint back to the crossroads. She is not there. I yell, “Gab, Gab, Gab” and whistle loudly. No response. It is so windy she couldn’t hear me if I tried.
Oh no, oh no, oh no. The boat’s gonna be here soon and Gab’s gone. It is 2:30 p.m. I stop to think, ‘this is pretty funny’. Deserted in multiple ways at multiple times on a deserted island. I laugh to myself. Serves me right.
Then Gab comes around the corner. “It’s here,” I say. “It’s almost here!”
“Really, you mean it?” she says as we both run back to the pier.
“Where is it? I don’t see it,” she says.
“Get out your binocs and look there,” I say pointing towards our savior.
“Ooh. I see. Thank heavens. I really thought we were going to be here ‘til Friday.”
2:40 p.m. and the boat arrives at the pier. We hop on and we leave at 2:42 p.m. Copies of Surfer Magazine are spread out on a table in the galley. The crew looks tan, happy and a little worn out.