Scouting for Spearfishing

courtesy of jpstanley/ license

On Sunday, Cadillac wanted to take the kids to Sandy’s tidepools to catch crabs and fish. Tidepools are only protected in a few areas here, plus we just found out that not only does Hawaii not require a fishing license, you can totally catch all the Finding Nemo friends you want for your aquarium! Anyway, the kids like to go over the lava rock tidepools and try to scoop up crabs, which almost always scuttle out of harm’s way.

Turns out Cadillac had an ulterior motive. We had seen people spearfishing off of Sandy’s a few weeks earlier. “I’ll go check it out. You stay with the kids,” he said. He is itching to go spearfishing. “Free dinner,” he said. It’s like picking fruit off a tree around this island, catching fish, you know.

“Um.  Alright, I think,” I said. Sandy’s is rough. I mean really rough. I think I talked about its roughness and how ambulances regularly visit the place in another post.

“Don’t worry. I’m insured,” he said.

Well, then.

He took the crappiest snorkel, the cheapie that fills with water, and fins and off he went. I watched nervously with the kids.

“I give him a 50/50 shot of drowning,” Elyse said.

“Or of being eaten by a shark!” Ethan said.

“There are no sharks around here,” I said.

“Eh, in that case, I’ll make it 60/40,” Elyse said, turning away with her purple bucket and net.

I watched as Cadillac watched the waves dashing mightily against the lava rock wall precipice, watched him time it so he would not be crushed, watched him jump in and swim out quite easily. Then the kids shouted because they found another drop-off and a huge deep tide pool, filled with all sorts of colorful fish. “Let’s get in there!” they all shouted. Even Kaiya, who with her sturdy watershoes was most adept at rock climbing as long as she held a hand.

I peered over the edge. Very nice, except that there were more huge waves crashing into the pool every few minutes and pulling more sealife back out to sea. “If you fall in there,” I said, “I won’t be able to get you.”

Of course, Kaiya slipped toward the drop-off. I caught her. I am not all that comfy on the rocks and I’m even less comfy when I’m looking after Kaiya.

I looked in the ocean for Cadillac. As the waves receded, I saw him swimming back and forth. He looked okay. Besides, what was I going to do if he wasn’t? Seriously.

The kids moved on to more accessible tidepools and I followed, holding Kaiya’s hand. Unfortunately I slipped on a wet rock.

I tried to let go of Kaiya’s hand, but she, the valiant little thing that she is, would not let go. “Unnnngh!” She held my hand aloft. God, don’t let me pull her down! I thought. I scraped up my toe.

“Thank you! Did you catch Mommy?” I said when I recovered.

“Yeah.” She shook her head. “I want Daddy to come back and hold my hand instead. I don’t wanna die!”

Eventually Cadillac pulled himself from the surf and messed around for a bit; his fin had come off and he was waiting for the wave to get up high enough so he could grab it. Ethan and Elyse ran over to him. I was sitting with Kaiya and the crab we had pulled out of the surf. It had only three of its legs but was hanging on to life. “Poor crab,” Kaiya said, giving it some hermit crab friends. Its friend was worse off; it was red and a bird had neatly broken it in half, pecked out the meat, and then replaced it so it looked whole. Or a combo of the waves and birds.

Elyse ran over. “Mom, Dad’s ankle is bleeding like crazy and he refuses to get a Band-Aid,” she said indignantly. “Go talk some sense into him.” (Yes, my 10 year old usually does sound like she’s 30, in case you were wondering).

I walked over there with Kaiya, in time to see my husband bend over right in front of me. Oops. More than his ankle was torn up. His swim trunks. Full moon.

I glanced over at the women and children on the beach. Nobody looked perturbed or was pointing or laughing. They probably hadn’t seen.  Or maybe they didn’t care. Hawaiians are pretty casual.

“Hey,” I said, a little low so the people behind couldn’t hear, “your trunks are ripped.”

“That was rough. It was easy getting out so I knew it would be tough getting in,” he said, coming over to me. “Not many fish. And my wedding ring almost came off while I was holding onto the rock!”

“Hey,” I said again, louder, closer to him. “Your trunks are totally ripped up the back.  They’re gone!”

He clapped his hand to his bottom. “Gee, somebody could have told me. I’ve been walking around for ten minutes like this.”

“I didn’t know,” Elyse said.

“Well, I did!” Ethan said gleefully. “I saw it right away.  I guess I’m the only one who notices stuff, huh?”

“Thanks, Ethan,” Cadillac said.

Published by Margaret Dilloway

Middle grade and women's fiction novelist. FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS, (Balzer + Bray 2020); SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES. MOMOTARO: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (Disney Hyperion); TALE OF THE WARRIOR GEISHA and SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, out now from Putnam Books. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a finalist for the John Gardner fiction award. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is the 2013 Literary Tastes Best Women's Fiction Pick for the American Library Association. Mother of three children, wife to one, slave to a cat, and caretaker of the best overgrown teddy bear on Earth, Gatsby the Goldendoodle.

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