A FEW WEEKS AGO IN ILUKA…
Awoken not by the gentle offer of tea, but slightly harried tones; “What did you tie the kayak to last night when you got back?”
I’m asleep but not asleep. I know immediately that I’ve fucked up. I pulled it up on the beach next to the boat last night. I tied it to nothing. An overnight five foot tide has ensured the kayak has gone rogue on a solo expedition.
My brain has me out of bed and standing on the breakwall in the drizzle before the rest of me knows what’s happened. There it is. Washed up at an angle, resting halfway down the oyster covered rocks – shout-loud yellow with the paddle somehow still balanced upon it.
Saved – both of us. Me and it. Sorry sorry sorry.
M motors across, checks it over. “Tough as,” he says, tying it behind Foamy. “It’s fine.” He takes them the short distance back to the big boat.
I’m up now, only just realising it. I see the sand on the other side of the breakwall, untouched – a perfect tideline three quarters of the way up the sand. The urge to put down the days first footsteps is not one I’m going to override. I’m there before the dogwalkers, the health-conscious, the influencers – there are my footprints, a few hermit crab mounds and the patterns of seabird feet.
The past three nights – coming on and just after the new moon – have washed this place with water. There’s an old upside down dinghy chained up under the trees ashore looking like it hasn’t moved for years. Without the chain it would have floated out amongst the dolphins two nights in a row. I keep meaning to be a good person and spray some lanolin into the padlock – mariners karma.
Out on the beach there are a few small spots of blue that could fit on my thumbprint. My friend’s dad showed me what these were last weekend – he’d taken photos while walking along the surf beach out the front. Bright blue tiny flower dragon looking things. Glaucus atlanticus – described by Wikipedia as ‘a small blue sea slug’. Besides being weirdly beautiful, it is intriguing to me because it feeds on another blue thing – bluebottles, among other jellyfish.
The one I saw this morning was more blue sludge than blue dragon, but I am going to keep my eye out for blue blobs. It would be easy to confuse them at first with washed up bluebottles, but they don’t have those long stringy tendrils flowing from them.