This morning before sunrise I set out with Drew and Made on quiet waters in a boat built like a water-bug. The body of the boat seemed not much more than the hallowed trunk of a tree painted white. Supports stretched out like legs a few feet out from the sides of the body so that we sat on the dark waters and followed its gentle contours.
We sped along to the sound of the motor as Made’s boat took us away from the shore. The few lights that speckled the coastal mountains became more and more insignificant as we crossed the waters and instead my attention went to the shadowy volcano that sits behind the small town of Amed with a ghostly presence. It hides behind thick clouds most days, but this morning the sky was clear; only one wisp of cloud played about the volcano’s peak. “That can’t be a volcano.” I found myself thinking. “Volcanos only exist in exotic and faraway places like…Indonesia.” My mind cleared and I was filled with wonder at the world around me. The sky to the East began to show the first signs of pink. I was instantly grateful to Made for his invitation to join his morning fishing trip.
Made is the kind of man who smiles constantly and is quick to welcome you into his family and home. His generosity is endless and as a result, he is the kind of man to whom you want to see good things happen.
Made began reeling in mackerel; step one of catching the real fish: the mahi-mahi. It occurred to me as I watched the light carving angles of light and dark into the water that there were dolphins somewhere in these waters. I imagined the overload of foreign stimuli it would be to see dolphins playing at the base of a huge volcano. It seemed like too much beauty for one morning. Though I knew it was highly possible and even likely to spot them, part of me couldn’t shake the thought that there was no such thing as a morning full of dolphins and volcanos.
Just after sunrise when the pink had made its way to pale blue, Made pointed at the side of the boat saying “Dolphin! Dolphin!” Sure enough, not far from the boat was a shiny black arch with a dorsal fin. Then two and three, all slipping above the water in playful groups. I kept my eyes out on the water, watching the deceitful fin-like peaks of the dark waves. Then, right in front of the boat they popped up to play among the waves. Then to the side. Then to the other side. We were literally surrounded by dolphins that popped up in spontaneous bouts of play.
This distracted me while Made wrestled with the bight of a big fish. A mahi-mahi. Drew grabbed one end of the line while Made fed the string along to the enormous fish. 10 Kilo he guessed, analyzing the strength of the pull. They wrestled and I hopped between eyeing the water and eyeing the tightening line.
Suddenly the line snapped at the forceful tug of the opponent below. The force ripped the line out of Drew’s tight grasp, cutting his hand. The fish got away.
Made is the kind of man to whom you want to see good things happen. My attention left the hunt for dolphins and instead I joined the anxiety of a near catch. “Oh let this man catch his big fish.” I thought. My head was in the game now. I wanted to see Made catch his giant mahi-mahi. The dolphins began to jump in high leaps above the water, but my attention was split now.
The waters were calm for awhile, subdued by the feeling of waiting. Another tug. Another bite: a big one. We watched the line swivel through the waters and travel indecisively around the boat. The wrestle had progressed further this time, and I could see the mahi-mahi’s iridescent greens and blues flashing in the light when it rose, twisting above the surface of the water. Made pulled and tiptoed with agility along the boat’s edge until the great fish was nearly in his hands, elevated above the water. He fought for a grip of the fish itself. It thrashed in front of my face and I readied myself for the wet, sticky body of an angry fish, pounding at my feet in the bottom of the boat.
No such luck. For the second time the string snapped.
Made is the kind of man to whom you want to see good things happen. There was a loud chatter from the surrounding boats across the water. Some laughed, others marveled with Made over this near catch.
Made chooses to see this as a lucky day. No one else got bites from mahi-mahi this morning, but we got two.
Made is the kind of man who will be blessed no matter what happens.