Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hawaiian vacation, day 7

Today we went kayaking.

This was Craig's idea, and I got suckered into it. Physical exertion is generally not my idea of a vacation. I tried telling him it would mess up his hair, which (surprisingly), didn't dissuade him.

I called a place and made a reservation. They told me to meet "the guy” on the beach at mile post 7. So, at the ungodly vacation hour of 6:30 a.m we arrived, only to find 3 different kayaking outfits waiting there for their customers.

I went up to the guy closest to us, and before I could say anything he glanced up from his clipboard and said "Dude, are you the Tarahashi family, from Tokyo?"

I don't even look vaguely Asian and was briefly taken aback. He apparently took the pause to mean I'm either deaf, don't understand English, or both. So he repeated the question, loudly, in halting Japanese.

"What do you do when you come to a yellow light?"

I said, "No, we're the Grumpy family, from Ohio. Are we on your list?”

He flipped through some pages, and said "No, but I think I remember your name from the invoice I left at home" and tossed the clipboard into a rusted out Toyota pick-up. "I'm Skeeter. Let's get you guys some kayaks out of the back."

So I followed Skeeter. He was skinny, deeply tanned, and had long blonde dreadlocks. He looked like a SoCal dude, though later told us he was from Hilo, on the Big Island. He smelled like marijuana, not in an I-just-smoked-some way but more like he uses it frequently at home, and so the smell has permeated everything.

At some point I assume the Tarahashi family showed up, and probably went with some other kayak outfit under our reservation.

Skeeter dragged 3 kayaks out of the pick-up bed, and gave us a 10 second lecture on rowing. The twins, as always, went together, and Frank and I paired up. Skeeter headed out with some guy whose name was never given and magically appeared from under the truck, with motor oil on his chest.

Off we went, paddling away down the Maui coastline. Occasionally Skeeter would point out interesting fish, or birds, or clouds, or mountains, or UFO's.

After about 30 minutes he noticed a sea turtle leisurely drifting near us, and yelled "Hey Mr. Turtle, Dude! How's it going?"

Mr. Turtle Dude kept coming toward us, then dived and swam under me and Frank's kayak. We both leaned to our right to watch him go by, immediately capsizing the boat and dumping us both in the Pacific.

As soon as we came up, Frank began screaming that he'd lost his glasses. Skeeter jumped out of his boat, and he and I both dove down to the coral several times to look for them. After our 3rd or 4th dive Frank realized they were still around his neck.

Mr. Turtle Dude, by this time, had given up on the primate entertainment, and moved on, with as contemptuous a look back at us as can be managed without facial muscles.

We continued paddling. This is SO not my thing. I got a blister on my thumb, FFS.

As we cruised along the coast, the twins got a little too close and were caught in the breaking surf. Frank, Skeeter, Motor Oil, and I watched helplessly as they were tossed about, then thrown onto the beach as both of them leaped out at the last second. The kayak flipped over a few times before it came to rest next to some rocks.

Craig, using his Boy Scout training, made several attempts to launch the boat, without success. Each time it got pushed back by the waves, or turned over. The attempts ended when he accidentally dropped one end on Marie's foot, and she slugged him. Then they began yelling, throwing sand, and screaming at each other as to whose fault it was that they were now trapped on a beach in the middle of nowhere (20 feet from a major highway, with cars whizzing by) and were now going to die and I TOLD YOU THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE WORST VACATION EVER!!!

Skeeter jumped out of his boat, and swam ashore. He separated them, relaunched their kayak, swam along pulling it until they were outside the breakers, and then got back in his own boat.

You better believe I gave him a decent tip.

When we finally got back to the condo, Mrs. Grumpy asked us how it was. I tried to convey my horrible suffering at having a blister on my thumb, but she unsympathetically didn't give a shit. Instead, she ignored me and asked the kids.

Marie said "It was fun! Craig and I got shipwrecked!"


jimbo26 said...

Oh , yes . LOL .

Anonymous said...

Haha, totally sounds like what my kids would do if they were there, ie slugging it out for the world to see instead of solving the problem. Good call on the generous tip.

Powers said...

Someone remind me how old the Grumpy kids are?

Packer said...

I love kayaking stories, as a former kayaker--that was before I got so big that I couldn't get out of one---I must note that you paddle a kayak, you do not row a kayak.
But all of the other stuff is spot on, especially the capsize. Great stuff that kayaking.

Anonymous said...

You should have asked Skeeter and Motor Oil if they had a side business supplying tourists such as yourself with locally grown herbs; your Hawaiian vacation might have been more enchanting.

Ms. Donna said...

Herbs . . . I have heard it is a sovereign remedy for blisters. Good thing you are not a neurosurgeon.

Offspring fighting? Oh Never! (humor mode firmly ON)

I take it none of the Grumpy offspring are contemplating a career in the Navy, Marines, or Coast Guard. Chair Force, Maybe.

And an interesting question -- why is Great God Grumpy shepherding kids at 6:30 a.m. and Mrs. Grumpy, R.N. is snoozing? Sounds like an upsetting of the natural order to this RN's daughter. Somewhere Hippocrates is grumbling and Florence Nightingale is cheering.

Mathi Bear said...

Never smoked weed in my life, but I think if I was going to do that job I would have to start. No matter what happens, just keep mellow....

Moose said...

That's my favorite episode of Taxi. No matter what it leaves me crying in tears from laughing so hard.

Anonymous said...

Trust those kids. Just trust them. They'll recall that was the way it was 20 years from now. My son, now in his 30s, has fond memories of a capsizing wave (with undertow) sweeping near too near Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. He, in his rolled up pants at age 5, delighted in telling everyone excitedly that he 'fell into the ocean'. He also knocked the wing off an angel statue when he decided to investigate a cathedral up close and personal, but those are things that make the vacation memorable.

Anonymous said...

OMG...are you sure that was your vaca because ours...and I mean ALL of ours...are the same.

I'm starting to burn out on's more stressful than work. I have an 8yo with claws and really, really long nails and a 10yo who's pretty reasonable...until the last straw and then there's no going back. I always get super-excited thinking that this is going to be the BEST vacation ever...Europe, CA, FL Las Vegas, Grand Canyon... I fork over a FORTUNE with these grand dreams...only to have it end in a cloud of "Mooommm...she kicked me"..."But he touched my elbow first". Oh and my personal favorite - $200 bill for the water and m and m's that were prominently displayed in the hotel room. Betcha wondered why they do that...who would actually DRINK a $10 bottle of water? It's for people with kids who haven't yet had the painful experience of hopping out of the shower to find the empty wrappers and chocolate faced kids.

I had to see a therapist for PTSD after the trip to Disney...

KeepSmiling said...

=) thanks for making me laugh today Dr. Grumpy.

Mal said...

Sounds familiar, but did you manage to get back into your kayak after capsizing?

I remember my dad (a large gentleman) capsizing.

We got to watch from the beach through binoculars while he repeatedly heaved himself up, and got wacked on the head by the kayak rolling on top of him.

After about 20min he swam pulling the kayak half a mile back to shore, because he wasn't able to get back in.

Fun times.

Shellye said...

I cannot stop laughing! Mr. Turtle Dude, being mistaken for the Tarahashi family, Mrs. Grumpy being unsympathetic, I'm sobbing with laughter!

Seriously though, I do sympathize with you about your blister. I got a huge blister on my foot during my vacation. It took forever to heal since walking is a necessary part of everyday life.

lynda t. said...

Every one needs a Spicoli moment once in their lives....

Anonymous said...

I know the deal. You meet "the guy"
on the beach who knows " a guy" who
knows "another guy." Where have I heard this before?

Denise Perry said...

Then they began yelling, throwing sand, and screaming at each other as to whose fault it was that they were now trapped on a beach in the middle of nowhere (20 feet from a major highway, with cars whizzing by) and were now going to die and I TOLD YOU THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE WORST VACATION EVER!!!

Uh-oh! Sounds like another call to the Teen Crisis Hotline is in order!

Natalia AL said...

We hiked up Mauna Kea on our vacation! 4600-foot climb! :]

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