Stood Up

The first tropical storm of theseason has come and gone. Hurricane Adrian rallied southwest of Acapulco tobecome a Category 4 hurricane in what seemed like record time. I watched thesatellite imagery as she metamorphosed from a loose gathering of fluffy,innocuous-looking clouds into a perfectly round, spinning mass of moisture witha foreboding, nuclear Cyclops eye.

Surfers all over the west coast ofMexico rubbed their hands together in anticipation of the swell that Adrian wasgenerating. Her proximity meant it would arrive quickly. Prayers were said thatshe would not send winds with the waves and remain peaceably out at sea. Ilooked at the surf report for the East Cape and felt excitement rising in mychest – it looked like I’d be traveling from Maui to Baja before her biggestwaves arrived. They were predicting waves as big as 18 feet  and the swell to last a good week.After six weeks of tiny wind swell on Maui, I was ready for some clean overheadwaves.

I left Maui on Thursday, arrived inLos Cabos on Friday to happy dogs and news that a copper pipe had broken loseand we’d been losing water for over 24 hours. I pointed to the shut off valveand asked Felipe why he hadn’t turned it off. He responded with what we call“the thousand-mile stare.”

I looked yearningly at 10 footwaves breaking in front of the house, frowned and began trying to contact aplumber using our limited communications – Skype and email. I managed to gethold of Carlos, a hard-working stocky man who regularly works for one of myneighbors. When he said he would come on Sunday, I considered not having waterfor the next 36 odd hours and begged him to come sooner. “I’ll make it worthyour while,” I told him. He agreed to come the next day.

Saturday the swell was even bigger,but a light wind had joined it. I tried not to notice the trucks withsurfboards piled high on top driving by the house to a special spot that onlybreaks on a hurricane swell. My heart ached like I was pining for mylover.  I returned to my otherpressing task – getting the guest house ready for a couple who were arriving fromWashington that day. By eleven o’clock I had the interior done and a South windwas lashing the water and waves into a mess of white caps and mushburgers. Itcooled my skin and my longing as I slaved away.

Carlos turned up right on time andquickly had the leak fixed and a huge amount of air purged from the pump andlines (it’s a long way from the house to the cistern on top of the hill). Thenhe and his wife Irma helped me clean the house and carry the patio furniturefrom the garage. By the time we were done sweeping, mopping, and washingwindows I was exhausted. It was 7:00PM. Carlos and Irma left with smiles ontheir faces and a wad of cash in their pockets. As they pulled out of thedriveway, I waved and then watched as two trucks drove back past the housereturning from the secret hurricane swell-catching spot. Tomorrow, first thing, I thought.

The next morning I woke up excited,ready to hop on my ATV and go play with the waves. As I lay there rubbing the sleep out ofmy eyes Inoticed something was amiss – it was quiet. Too quiet. Must be between sets. I sat up in bed to survey the scene in front of the house. I watched and waited, but the only waves tocome through were miniscule by hurricane swell standards. I hauled myself outof bed and went to the computer. There it was, NOAA had posted her obituary – Friday nightHurricane Adrian fizzled into a remnant low, disappearing off the radar as fastas she appeared. And the bitch took the waves with her when she left.


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