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Mission Outer Island – Chapter 1

April 25, 2012


6:07 pm: Its late afternoon as the light dances across calm waters – it’s another Balinese sunset. As we slouch around a table of empties… there’s some serious discussion. Its Raja’s maiden voyage… the vessel’s fueled… crew are standing by… all is set to launch. But there’s a snag… the departure’s hit a wall… a wall cemented by greed and corruption. But you can’t panic… no point… its the islands… nothing ever goes to plan… nobody knows shit… until it happens – and even then. A message arrives… still no clearance… no papers… it don’t look good. Passengers stand by on the western cove.. 3 hrs away… too late to cancel… cash already spent… refund impossible. Two silhouettes emerge… Nyoman the skipper sits. If agreed – the plan’s to wait for dark.. then sneak an exit.. full stealth.. slow…  quiet… no lights – covert. We must avoid the harbor Jacks – otherwise its all over and someone’s in the joint for a night. The skipper accepts the terms… only if he’s guaranteed protection. There’s a handshake… everyone rises… its time to unhook the dingy. Mission Outer Island has a green light.

8:32 pm: Cruising along the channel.. its pitch black… the Captain’s at the helm… the engine hum sets the tone – one that’s buried by a delicate tension. There’s a dim light at the bow… all-else is darkness. Tim remains alert… Rio and Wayan wipe down the salted windows.. Nyoman looks on nervously – no one speaks. It’s the mission’s first hurdle… and like them all… it must be cleared. Nyoman suddenly screams…“perahu!” the Captain spins the wheel hard and fast. Adrenalin takes hold… an old fishing boat drifts across the bow – no lights – invisible. We brace for impact… it scrapes past… missing by mere inches. Another 15 minutes… the harbor’s gone… it’s the open ocean… freedom is ours.  The Captain looks across with that sandpaper smile – “How about you pouring us some of that rum Bear?”

10:45 pm: Passing the southern arch… its full stream ahead as the Raja plunges through more oncoming swell. Tim stands silent… the Captain talks GPS with the skipper… the vessel forges on. It’s a dream inside the gold mine.. an unmeasured destiny… a play unwritten… everything is possible and tonight we believe it’s all true. Another shot of rum makes the rounds… the Captain lights a Marlboro red… Timmy’s considers the galley. At stern the sky’s alive.. a symphony of visual infinity… the stars pulse hard… its poetry without end. We’re hours behind schedule… the team remains at the western cove… boards… luggage… dreams and darkness. It’s a full cast… all up for the same thing…. to get out… to escape… to flee Bali’s chaos… pollution… greed and corruption… to adopt a brand without commission… to be free.

12:43 am: Standing at stern… it’s dark… the dingy approaches… stacked with bags and silhouettes. I assist as contenders climb aboard. There’s Rodney – the 50’s something tanned Aussie veteran… Kevin – the Balinese/Australian stepson… Bastie – the German with that bukit dream factory… Damien – the classic Aussie from Brawa … Max – publisher from Narrabeen… Jamie – the ‘keen as beans’ Aussie oil rigger… Jeffery – from ‘let it rip’ Curl… Mike – the gym mogul from Jayakarta… and finally… Bali’s own response to Kelly - Mr.Bol. After a head count -the Raja’s party is 15 men – all in.

3:17 am: Everyone’s asleep… except Captain & crew. The ‘Raja’ ploughs another line… the galley rattles… bottles roll… there’s issue in the engine room… Rio emerges.. sweat and grease – he looks stressed. Seven and a half hours… half a bottle under the belt… my state of consciousness is charged. Alone on flight deck… trade winds blast my face… the air is thick with anticipation. The vessel heels hard as we continue across the strait. This is a particular solitude… one shrouded in an Indonesian mystery… a head full of insane dreams… beneath stars that glow like Javanese jewels. I need to find a corner  – the head’s spinning out of control. I slip below deck… stumbling across bodies and darkness. I enter the bow… there’s a bunk covered in life-vests & fishing tackle. I collapse as my eyes dissolve into my brain… sprawled… surrendering… while another wave pounds the hull.

This is the meaning… what can’t be explained… why everything is everything… and nothing else matters..

To be continued…

 

 

5 Comments leave one →
  1. karena1 permalink
    April 26, 2012 8:59 pm

    You been watching too many movies Sof? Or is it that your life is a movie?

  2. May 8, 2012 1:30 pm

    Well it’s a movie I’d watch…

    • May 9, 2012 12:09 pm

      Me too. It’s a shame hardly any decent films themed around surfing (and its culture) ever make it to the big screen – besides those ‘Point Break’ hollywood parodies…

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