Sylvia and Kevin have met in Baja. It was love at first sight, but they each have a lot of baggage. In this excerpt they are going out in a small aluminium boat to see the dolphins that have been coming up to the head of the Bay of Conception:
Kevin held the boat steady for me. It had a 9.9 Johnson mounted on the stern. I shuddered. Johnson. Sylvia and Joel Johnson. Well, I wasn’t going to allow him back into my life. I was finished with Joel for good. And to think I actually missed him the first few days. Good riddance, Joel. If I don’t see you before I die, it’s fine with me.
“Here’s your life vest, Sylvia.” Kevin was practical, organized, and savvy about the real things in life. Unlike Joel. For that matter, everything about Kevin was unlike Joel. Could be why I liked him so much.
“Thanks. Do you think we’ll see any dolphins?”
“We might if we get out some distance into the bay. Let’s push off and we’ll putt out a little way and have a look around.”
We glided over the glassy water easily. A couple of hundred yards from the beach, Kevin cut the motor and we drifted in the sudden silence.
Now that we were sitting still and the air was no longer whooshing past, I felt the soothing rays of the sun soaking into me. The early morning wisps of mist had lifted from the bay, leaving clear blue sky reflected in a deeper blue sea. I filled my lungs with the fresh, salty air.
“Have a look.” Kevin handed me a pair of binoculars. “Up towards Mulegé, Bill told me. If you see any fins or tops of their bodies breaking the surface, let me know and we’ll try to get closer without spooking them.”
Moments later, I pointed. “There!” Kevin started the motor and, at a slower, quieter speed, angled the boat towards the school’s probable destination, so that eventually our paths would cross.
Hundreds of sleek bodies broke the surface only to curve and dive down immediately and reappear a few yards farther on. Kevin cut the motor again and we drifted, a mere speck in the middle of the huge Bay of Conception, closer than we had hoped to a huge school of dolphins, all aiming for the head of the bay.
“Listen to them!” I whisper-shouted to Kevin. The mewling, whistling, singing, and crying, as they repeatedly broke the surface of the water, was an eerie choir piece. Hauntingly beautiful, it gave me goosebumps in spite of the warm day. Kevin’s face mirrored my feelings exactly—somewhere between awe and ecstasy. My mind was suddenly in turmoil, balancing this rare and precious moment with the realization that I probably had few of them left. Peaks of happiness and bottomless pits of misery played havoc with my emotions.
My eyes filled with tears. “Thank you for bringing me out here. That was so beautiful.” I lowered my head. Just needed a moment.
“It would have been a shame to have to enjoy this all alone,” he said.
Still trying to come to terms with the amazing spectacle we had just experienced, we sat a moment longer watching the last of the dolphins disappear in the distance.
“Uh-oh!” Kevin pointed towards the open end of the bay. “Whitecaps.” He started the motor and turned the skiff towards home. Within minutes, the breaking waves had moved much closer and the glassy smooth surface changed to ripples that grew into an uncomfortable lump. I’d heard San Diego fishermen talk about the lump in the sea. Now I knew what they were talking about.
“Hang on,” he said. “It could get bumpy. I’ll take us to the nearest point of land and then we’ll work our way home along the beach.”
I gripped the gunwales of the boat where they began to curve towards the bow. We bucked into the choppy whitecaps that had now overtaken us. In no time, the sleeves of my blue cotton shirt were soaked from the spray. Two-foot waves didn’t seem like much but they followed one after the other so briskly that the small skiff took a pounding. My stomach clenched into a knot of fear as we were tossed in every direction. I tightened my grip against the bouncing of the boat. More waves splashed over the bow, soaking the front of my shirt. I was glad the water was warm. It would have been an ordeal to be splashed with icy water every few seconds. The finer spray wet my face so the drops were running off my chin. I glanced at Kevin in the stern of the boat. He was completely dry except for a bit of salt spray in his hair. He looked so good and I could only imagine what I looked like. Drowned rats came to mind.
“We’re almost out of it,” Kevin yelled above the engine noise. He saw that I was bearing the brunt of the beating at the front of the boat. I could only nod as I looked over my shoulder at him.
Closer to the beach, we zigzagged to avoid rocks. Beaching the boat here would be difficult. We continued along the shoreline until we rounded a point and entered the mini bay where our own sheltered beach lay.
“Whew! That’s better,” I said.
We pulled the boat ashore and secured it with a line to a huge rock far above the high tide mark. Immediately, Kevin started apologizing.
I held up my hand. “Don’t. It was wonderful. Worth the beating we took on the way back.”
“Your beautiful hair.…”
My hands flew to my head. “My hair?”
“It’s such a mess!” Kevin pulled me close and hugged me, kissing my wet tangled hair. “I have a sun shower bag you can use.”
“I have one too. But I think, since I’m wet already, I’ll have a swim first and then rinse off with fresh water.”
“Good idea. I’ll join you.”
“Don’t forget to shuffle your feet in case of stingrays.”
Orion’s Gift is available for Kindle on amazon.com: http://amzn.to/SFebny
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Also by Anneli Purchase:
The Wind Weeps, available on amazon.com: http://amzn.to/TO3AJE
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available on amazon.com: http://ow.ly/iXgTB
and at smashwords.com: http://ow.ly/iXgZr