Jaime Lannister Comments on “The Code”

PERHAPS it was because I had just watched the finale of “Game of Thrones” that I got so excited when I got a comment from a James Lannister on my last posting. I wrote about how I can’t write about sessions and spots and forecasting techniques, or about decent waves or awesome sessions. Though I didn’t mention that there is a sort of code about revealing too much about surf on the Strait of Juan de Fuca; I have, over time, become more and more aware that there is one.  Maybe.

WAIT; just like the fictional character, Jaime Lannister; only, um, whoa/wow, real?

SO, rather than leave the comment in the commentary, which, evidently WordPress makes it difficult to actually submit, I decided to include it here; my comments on Mr. Lannister’s comments in parentheses. HERE:

Blogs and Instagrams which withhold a classic surf shot in hopes of not breaking the code and maintaining status amongst (note how it’s the more British-ee ‘amongst’ rather than the more mundane ‘among’) certain media darlings (maybe this is because I’ve started referring to Adam Wipeout James as a media darling- which he is) and the local(s) that live in the woods but post content clearly implying epic surf and epic surf of daring adventures (I think he meant ‘and’ daring adventures) out of state or country is an interesting scenario. One could argue there is more allure in tales lacking photographic evidence than posting the damn photo itself, thus attracting more casual wave seekers. (then there’s a smiley face- I do wonder if there’s a ‘tongue in cheek’ emoji).

jaimeLannisterTwins“So, you’re telling me, that, maybe, when the tide comes in; there might or might not be, waves?  Tidal push, you say? Very well; it’s not as if I can call someone.  I don’t even seem to have a ‘roaming’ option, and all the locals and the pretenders, not that I can tell one from the other; keep saying stuff like, “If you see waves; you had best surf said rollers,” or, “Winter’s coming;” shite like that.  Oh, yes; board bags and Westphalians. Noted.

“When I inquire as to the availability of other, possibly better wave locations, and access to these rumored breaks; I keep hearing about ‘the code.’  The code?

“And, again, to be clear; you also seem to be quite critical of my custom wetsuit armor, designed for close quarters combat.  It served me well at Rincon and Trestles… Sir Dude of the Clan of the tree-dwellers.  But, no; I will not bend a knee to your house or your banner; ‘Lib-tech or die,’ indeed.  Um, so; when is high tide, again?”

OH, I hope this doesn’t add to the allure of the wild Strait of Juan de Fuca area for more casual wave seekers.  That might be a code violation.  Thanks, James Lannister, for reading realsurfers.

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Four Days Strait

OKAY, If I choose to write about surfing, surf culture, real surfers along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, I can, because it’s America (one day from Memorial Day, and the official start to outdoor grilling season), I can say pretty much whatever I want.  Freedom.  YEAH, well; then there’s popular sentiment and, I must admit, some self-centered reasons for not writing EVERYTHING.

HERE’S what I can’t write about: CAN’T name spots, even those pretty much everyone who has ever surfed the Strait knows; CAN’T publish photos of any waves over one foot (should these photos even exist); CAN’T divulge tide/wind/swell direction formulas (mine or any one else’s) for determining best chances to avoid getting skunked (even if not getting skunked means, merely, getting some of those previously-mentioned one footers); CAN’T besmirch or demean any local surfers by name or, even, by giving away clues as to the identity of said locals (and I’m not defining or arguing your definition of locals here).

In the non-writing category, the main no-no is calling up your buddy from some spot with one footers sloppily lapping on rocky shores (and, hopefully, you’re being charged Canadian roaming fees, with tariffs), with a ‘Hey, Hipster-Bud, High-Bank is just f’ing firing. Calf-high sets. No, really. How long it might take you to get here from Gold Bar? No, I don’t know about the ferry backup or if the Hood Canal Bridge is closed, or if 101 is closed due to an accident, or if downed trees are blocking 112. Sheet, man; I’m just trying to get you some waves.”

It is kind of okay to tell surf stories and reveal surf secrets to people who have no real interest in ever challenging you for a set wave; and it’s kind of okay to brag about your latest surf exploits to a few friends, AFTER THE FACT.

Most of these ‘can’ts’ are, admittedly, self-serving.  Surfing is just sooooo cool.  I don’t mind (or fear) saying that.  I don’t want MORE SURFERS in the water; some of them, undoubtedly, ready to get pissed-off because someone might be getting more tiny tubes than they are.  Or many more.

ANOTHER ARGUMENT for not sharing is that it takes away from the joy one will feel when discovering these things for him or herself.  YEP, there’s nothing like the thrill of hiking through the woods, down a slippery trail, only to find… nothing.  NEXT TIME.

ANYWAY, I will reveal two of my secrets: If Keith goes camping or Adam makes a stealth run; there will be something.  A problem there is, they might not (probably won’t) let me know until it’s over, or, at best, when that small window is closing.

SO, one (non-specific) day last week, checking the buoy readings and tea leaves frequently; I decided to go (mostly because my painting project get shut down due to the client not happy with the color she chose).  I talked my friend, Stephen Davis, into going with me, promising waves based on the hope that the angle would improve, and that Keith was out there somewhere, no doubt, scoring  AND, SURE ENOUGH, it was big enough to ride if one didn’t worry about losing another fin.

SIDEBAR: Tyler Meeks had a bunch of fins for sale at the DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE, sold them all.  ADVICE: If you go, bring extras.

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Okay, if you recognize the spot, one, don’t tell anyone; and, if you do, be sure to say this is a big day.

BUT, since I’m not the only one willing to be fooled by buoy reading that should mean waves, there’s always the enjoyment of hanging out.

20190522_182419I keep forgetting to take photos of real surfers, but here’s Tugboat Bill, ready to rip.

This is Gavin, originally from South Africa (once sat next to Jordy Smith at a restaurant at Jeffry’s Bay), an electrician and Whistler ski instructor; cooking lamb (smells good, not willing to taste it- did once) after his wife, Char, invited Steve and I to tour his Sprinter van. Though Steve is planning on going to Baja soon, Gavin is “through with Baja.”20190522_182550

So, yeah; one learns a lot while hanging around and waiting. NOT PICTURED is this other guy who was sitting on a five gallon bucket when we got there, quite willing to talk about how, possibly because he disrespected some Hawaiians, he suffered… (I don’t want to get into it, and, because he kept talking about it, I decided to risk my last unbroken fin).

AND, I MUST ADD, others pulled into the parking area, drawn by the hope and the anticipation.  DARREN was lured into the water, possibly, noting that SEAN, teacher from P.A., and I were rock-skimming.

STEPHEN took a nap.

SO, THREE DAYS LATER, Adam having made at least one stealth strike, Keith extending his camping trip, Steve and I risked skunking again.  And, now, finally something I can’t write about.  I have at least one photo, though I should have taken more that I can’t publish; more of real surfers.

 

Here’s my daughter, Drucilla’s, new van and the woman she bought it from. Le (pronounced Lee, but, she told me, ‘with just one e’), originally from Vietnam, but of Chinese ancestry, and… things you learn in parking lots. This one is outside the Quilcene Post Office, down on Surf Route 101.  The second photo is of the Deli section in the Poulsbo WalMart, taken because, there, partially because Dru only has a learner’s permit, and I was the duty instructor; but, mostly, because, Trish (at home on the phone) didn’t believe that there was no longer a place where one could get non-pre-packaged macaroni salad.

YEAH, not a surf story.  Not that I don’t have some.  SO, to all folks in the many many vehicles with multiple surfboards on them, with hopes and anticipation of overhead bombs; GOOD LUCK; hope you have some great stories you can’t tell.

Except, maybe, in some distant, out of cell range parking area.

Space Awareness

I guy I was painting with, and this was a few years ago, a possibly typical, happy hour loving (definitely appreciating) individual (meaning he started and left the job way earlier than I did), told me, enjoying reduced-price beverages at a lounge in Port Angeles, that two surfers were (annoyingly, he pointed out, to fellow lounger, him) talking surfing.

“Nonstop. And, two hours later (post happy hour)?”

” Um, uh, surfing? ”

Yes.

So it was, and so it is that yesterday, checking the buoy readings the average, 8 or 15 times per day, and, because I was working very close to a vantage point on the fickle Strait of Juan de Fuca, looking (in, as usual, vain) for any sign of waves three times, but then forced, because that job was finished, to drive 50 miles away to another job, I probably spent, between illegally talking on the cellphone-while -driving, legally talking on the cellphone while hanging out in a parking lot with a view of ripples going the wrong direction, and actually talking, in person to another frustrated  surfer – um, like, two hours.

So, like… Like happy hour. And I had my own coffee (black, no, you know, painterly extras). I would add more, about what I talked with Chimacum Timacum about (Seaside locals – hint) surfer stuff, like the last times there were waves, when the next time might be, but my fingers are getting numb from typing on this tablet, and, besides, it’s time to check the buoy readings

Tim took this photo of a fiercely –  defended  spot. We talked about it.

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Moving On… and, yes, On

I recently got an e-mail with the heading, “Moving On.” It was from ‘Hydrosexual’ Stephen Davis, who, incidentally, is my Wal-Mart call (like a drunk call, but mostly because I have little to do in Wal-Mart except follow Trish around and try not to whine, and because it’s usually late enough here that it’s somewhere around 4:30, 5 on the big Island). Included was this, one of several paintings he’s working on before he, um, moves on.

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So, Steve has several options, but what he’s evidently doing is going to the Chicago area, helping his friend Cosmo get his (Cosmo’s) house ready to sell. Evidently, again, Cosmo visited the Big Island long enough to decide he might have had enough of being a landscaper in Chicago’s suburbs.

Okay, this is a couple of Wal-Mart calls, and, hopefully, a few more volcanic reef surf sessions away, so, if it changes…

MEANWHILE, Mikel “Squintz” Cumiskey is moving on, back (but not yet) to the wide open and fertile (compared to the Strait of Juan de Fuca) surf grounds (surf sands?) of Florida.  BUT, he hasn’t quite left yet, and sent me this photo of a recent attempt to find waves around these parts.

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This was his second long hike/slide/belly crawl/in of the day, and, one, that’s part of a log at the point, two, if he’d actually continued to the beach, the odds of cops being called were pretty high.

No, I’ve never never surfed there, but, interestingly, I have met the woman who thinks it’s her ultra-important task in life to prevent anyone (and she doesn’t own the land) from enjoying… well, this; waves wrapping around just another point. I did ask the woman, who was friendly enough with me when I was painting on another property she did landscaping on, if she’d call the cops if I happened to, you know, maybe try to… “You betcha’,” she said, with an Annie Oakley smile.

Good luck, Squintz and his wife and child. No, I didn’t give Mikel that nickname; but it’s just too good not to use.

MEANWHILE, I managed to sneak in a little drawing time.

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I did refresh the stock of framed prints available at DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE in, obviously, Discovery Bay, AND I’m working with Tyler Meeks (and with Mollie Orbea of Orbea Signs in Port Gamble) on some t shirt designs.  Trying to keep it simple.

Meanwhile, as always, looking for signs of swell, scamming on how to adjust life so it wraps around, lines up, gives one a swoop and a carve, and, yes, moves on.

Can’t Stop Myself from…

…adding more lines. I try for simple; really; but, if no one stops me, I just keep going until…

Image (38)I’m trying to get some illustrations together for (this is kind of a secret and has always been something I’ve been interested in) some t-shirts. I have, actually, done some designs for others, but, as always, I just keep going, adding lines, adding some pointillism (fancier name for dots), some more shading.

Doing some drawings for use in coloring books has helped, but… So, for the above drawing I avoided the ‘extra fine’ pens. Fine lines, I know, through my experience in serigraphy (snotty name for silk screening), don’t always work. They get lost in the process.

The process. My process is I just keep trying.  So, here’s the best I could do with my scanner (because I’m impatient and can’t get to the printer for a couple of days) on a drawing based on a photo I took of a secret and scary and fickle and dangerous and, if I didn’t mention it, secret spot somewhere out on the Strait. The photo very briefly appeared on this site before fear of landmark recognition by desperate and/or frustrated surfers (and having this pointed out to me by several friends) lead to its removal.

Image (39)Image (40)Maybe, in your mind, you can connect the two drawings. I am pretty happy with the rocks in the foreground. Lots of lines; lots and lots of lines.

Blame Laird Hamilton if you must, but…

…Chimacum Tim just got a seven hundred dollar (a bit more, plus the board) space age whatchamacallit, and can’t wait to Foil the Strait.

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“Um,” I asked, “how do you, like, catch something… I mean, it, it just kind of seems like…”

“Well,” he answered, “in the videos…”

I sent this photo to several of my friends, Keith “no, I’m not calling you with wave reports” Darrock, Adam “Wipeout” aka “Roundhouse” James, and Hydrosexual Stephen Davis.  Adam hasn’t responded since he told me, “Erwin; I told you it wasn’t going to be working.” Keith texted, “looks flat.” Stephen Davis, who correctly predicted that the latest craze (oh, they’ve been around a while, but not for, you know, regular surfers) from Hawaii (at least Maui and the big island) would eventually show up on the far northwest of America.

Anyway, having already practiced my standing-up on a standup paddle board, and, maybe snagging a half-session’s worth of tiny peelers, I had to go, and Tim, who works on the Washington State Ferries, moved on to somewhere else.

Wait, maybe, on a choppy cross-Sound crossing… I’m just thinking… Tow-in. If you see Tim cruising across the Strait or the Salish Sea, please take a photo. Wait. No. Vid-e-o.

Meanwhile, if you’re headed for (or home from, skunked) the fickle and highly-questionable  (as in, “Are there waves there?” “Not really.”) waves of the Strait or the West End, stop in at the Disco Bay Outdoor Exchange. They have lots of gear, plus some work by local artists (including me); and Tyler might enjoy your tale of ‘can’t miss’ forecasts gone awry.

No, Big Dave Rips

Jeffrey Vaughn seemed to be enjoying the waves (part of this is that there were waves). It was stormy, west wind blowing (this is sideshore on the Strait of Juan de Fuca), and, maybe it was the tide, maybe the angle, but waves that, typically, hug the reef and peel, were, mostly, closing out, rolling through.

Waves were breaking on outside, Indicator reefs. Rain squalls, clouding the view to the west, would approach, roll through, further chopping-up the lines. Then pass by. Sun would, randomly, break through, adding blinding reflections on ribbed wave faces.

Some waves, that should have been lefts, almost looked like rights. I know better, usually, than to drop into these chunky, deeper water waves. You can drop into a long wall, speed for fifty yards or so and pull out, as you would on most beach breaks, or drop down under the first closeout section, pull back into some non-critical, not-steep wall, and bounce around well past the fence (this is the measure for a long ride at this spot).

Still, even on more lined-up waves, there was a tricky inside section that, if you made it, it was great. If you didn’t you’d get punched, pitched, or, again, be forced to drop down, try to work past it. Oh, I guess you could straighten out.

Jeff was taking off on the outsiders, big smile on his face, dropping-in while I’m going up the face, looking to see if the next one is going to break farther out; and he was picking off  some of the up-the-reef peelers, dropping in with his patented and classic South Bay longboard style, hands on the wall as he wailed toward the inside section.

When he got out he climbed up on top of his Mad Max-meets-heavy-duty-off-roader-adventurer van, snapped some shots of Big Dave and, yeah, me. Thanks, Jeff.

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Top-Discussion mid-session (I was out for about three hours, then a break, then an hour or so more, Dave was out when I arrived, still out when I left- at least 6 hours straight) with Dave, mostly about how access to a favorite spot has, again, been cut off. Or, maybe, about how he’s sometimes mistaken for me, and vice-versa. He’s five years younger, and was a Crystal Pier rat (his words) when I moved to Pacific Beach, San Diego, at 20, in 1971.

Second shot-Me setting up for the tricky inside section. Yes, there were bigger waves.

Third shot- Dave setting up for the tricky inside section. And, yes, the camera takes two feet off the height of a wave and adds twenty pounds (minimum) to the size of a surfer.

Bottom- Dave vertical. There were bigger waves. Really.

NOTE- While I was taking a break, drinking two cups of coffee, one of three guys loading up in a black jeep parked next to me, after taking a couple of cell phone shots of Dave, said it’s nice that someone like me is still ‘out there.’ “Thank you, young gentleman,” I should have said, instead of asking, “You mean old?” Of course he did. Maybe this, and the unspoken challenge of Ironman Big Dave, made me go back out for ‘five more waves,’ that, when it glassed-off, turned into fifteen or so. It was either that or that I’d peed in my wetsuit. Either way, thanks for the photos, Jeff; thanks for the waves Juan.

Thrashed, Trashed, Clipped, Rocked and Rolled at (naming names) Seaside

If you roll up to the parking area at Seaside Cove and notice the wind isn’t howling, the sun is out, full force, the waves are… well, it’s a little hard to judge because no one is out, and you… stop. No one is out; take that as a hint. It isn’t a secret spot, and, a couple of days after Labor Day, there still should be some long weekenders hitting it; and it was just about time for after-workers, locals, soft top renters, someone.

Rather than heading out from the sand-bottom of the Cove, I was going to save myself the paddle out through a hundred yards or so of waves, wavelets, chop from previous winds, a northwest swell mixed and comboed with the chop, sidechop bouncing off the rocks… yeah, the rocks; I would pass the confusion, slip down the dry rocks to the slippery ones and ease in, past the confusion, straight out to the lineup.

Such as there is a lineup. I would pick off a few lefts, maybe, close to the rocks, some of those rights that peak, offer a drop, and an exit; staying away from the lefts that drop you off in the impact zone. Yeah, and maybe I’d head up toward the Point; I mean, like, this time there weren’t any Locals out to be irritated, and, from the still-dry rocks, it did look like there might be a few zingers out there.

NOW, let me explain the rocks. Boulders, really, each one seemingly planted erect, like an obelisk, few lying sideways, as one would think they should; rather like a field of boulders, not dropping off quickly into deeper water, but more rocks farther out; and, with one foot wedged between this monument and another, my leash wrapped around another, somewhere behind me, I discover I’m nowhere near a place where the waves aren’t hitting.

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Fifteen minutes, or so, later, I had moved my van over across from the bathrooms/shower, changed to my shorter-but-stronger leash, one that probably wouldn’t rip loose from my ankle like the other one did, and was back out, through the wavelets and waves and cross-chop. Somewhere in the time I was regrouping, deciding whether to go back out or go back to my Dad’s house in Chinook, two other surfers had come out.

I caught a wave, nice peak, dropped in, didn’t make my decision on which way to go in time. Bloop. Regroup; paddle back out, just in time to be just inside of one of the two surfers to drop into a head high wall just in front of me. BLOOP! “Sorry, man.”

“No problem,” he said.  A few moments later he said, “I have to give you credit. I was watching, through the binocs; you took a thrashing; didn’t give up.” Self-identified as a 25 year local, Jason (this is after I explained I only surf Seaside when I’m visiting my Dad, and usually surf the way-more-in-control waves in the Strait) gave me a few tips on clearing the rocks, like, maybe, wait for a lull. “Lull, yeah. Thanks.” “You know,” he said, “all my friends have surfed in the Strait; I’ve never been.” “Well; maybe when you get, you know, older.”

Mostly I was grateful to get some kind of props for trying to recover from the worst thing on a real surfer’s worry list, looking awkward/gooney/kookish/out of control; way worse than wiping out, blowing a takeoff on the wave of the day (no, that’s worse, if only slightly). Adding witness to either of the above-mentioned terrors compounds the event.

So, I caught another left, with Jason inside to witness something less kook-like; dropped while driving, got into a great position on the wall, then got clipped, just barely, by the lip, and… BLOOP! Roll. Regroup. Blow more water out of my sinuses. A few more waves, a couple of closeouts, a right that hit deep water and vanished; and a long wave, made the drop, drove through a tube, hit the open face, slid into a turn, went for another… BLOOP!

Now I was caught inside, well into the miles of beachbreak between the Cove and the Columbia. It was enough. When I got back to my van, there were two people fooling around in the near-shore reforms, and, squinting toward the horizon, fields of rocks and Jason was nowhere to be seen.

ADDENDUM- When you have a tough session, all one wants to do is make up for it the next time. I was planning on going the next day, maybe somewhere else, but was actually in the area to paint my Dad’s addition; and I had to get back home. My friend, Hydrosexual Stephen Davis, and his son Emmett, came down during the night, checked out Seaside the next morning. Overhead, waves breaking on the horizon, northwest wind. “You aren’t missing anything,” Steve said on the phone. Later he and Emmett hiked down to one of the secluded coves, paddled out to some low tide closeouts. “Worth it, Steve?” “Yeah.” That’s when, in retrospect, one decides a couple of nearly-made tubes might be counted as a success. But, next time…

Setting Out the Beach Chairs

The title has nothing to do with the drawings; but it has everything to do with surfers who check out every spot on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, then get to a place that’s actually working at about the time it stops doing so.

Image (47)Not that it’s happened to me. No, of course it has. Right now, trying to figure angles and tides; I wouldn’t bet on going to…you know, one of those spots… but, if I screw around, it might even be too late to go to… darn. Let me check those buoys again.

Image (48)I drew this larger, to fit a found frame, and, when I got it reduced, it was on paper a little too slick for the color. Not an excuse, an explanation. I have a load of wood and roofing in and on my work van, and no gas, and… checking the buoy. Oops, gotta go.

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“So, like, it’s, um; where did, you know, these waves come from? You know?

The guy on the left,  Sheep-collar Beardman, says, “Hey, Robin Hoodie, look at Mr. ‘I-just-rolled-in-from-Houston’ Tourist with the camera-slash-smartphone; like he’s never been to a wave park before.” The  to-remain-unnamed guy in the van with his own camera-slash-smartphone says, to himself, “Whoa; Derisive Derrick just turned into Drop-in Derrick! He burned Shortboard Aaron sooooo bad! Badly. Third degree burning! And I have proof.”

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Robin Hoodie, without looking away from The Tourist, cleverly disguised in a “Surf Galveston” t-shirt (under the unbuttoned Costco shirt), asks Beardman, “Yeah, um, I know all about these here waves. It’s all because they don’t have a sewer system in Victoria.” “You’re wrong, man; the waves come from… but, uh, no; I mean, uh, what do you mean?” “It’s scientific, Doofburger; they have, like, collection tanks, and…” “So, it’s like a big ass toilet?” “Yeah…” laughing… “Really big ass. Like your mother’s.” “Hey, not fair, Dingledork.”

Meanwhile, out in the wavepark, Shortboard Aaron, riding, today only, a really big ass homemade board someone found in a barn over on Marrowstone Island, gets a flush-roller to himself as Drop-in, peering into the water, stands up on his standup paddleboard, the glasses he was so casually sporting, now somewhere among the rocks.

“Let me review my photos,” the still-unnamed-guy in the van says, temporarily distracted by the image in his sideview mirror.

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“Okay, there’s the shot,” VanMan says. “Oh, and here’s one with, I think it’s Longboard Aaron and… those must be the folks from the Mercedes. Tourists, wondering where the heck these waves came from.”

The guy at the computer (me, obviously) says, “I better blow that one up. I wonder what those people are saying.”

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“Sure,” the woman (on the left in photo) is obviously saying, “Romantic walk on the beach my ass. He’s  trying to look cool and all Port Townsend-y. I don’t care about surfboarding and how waves from Russian come down the Strait of Juan de Fuca.” Aaron, back in the soup, is saying, “Nice fade, Derrick. Next wave I’m burning you. Don’t care if it IS your birthday.” Drop-in is saying, “I’d be cooler if I hadn’t lost my cool shades.” The man with the hip beanie is saying, “Find!! And I think they’re the 100 percent UV-blocking kind.” “Uh huh,” his wife says, wondering if he’ll help her up to the parking lot. “Sorry we didn’t see any great whites,” he says, actually having meant to say Orcas or Killer Whales, but distracted by his new self image; “they have a great DVD back at the B & B.” The woman says something under her breath, as her husband, an unbagged and sand-covered piece of dog poop squishing from the heel of his sandals, ponders how wonderful it would be to live a beach comber’s life, then says, actually quite loudly, knowing Poopy Sandals isn’t listening, “and when you said great whites; silly me; I had a different thing in mind. Moby Dick my ass.”

Meanwhile, over in Victoria, someone pulls the handle and, Woosh.

Wait, wait; the forever-unnamed photographer and observer told me that, a bit later, the Tourist met up with Beard and Hoody, inquiring about legal weed. “Weed?” “Yeah, ya’ll; like, dope, mary jane; mari-jeuh-wanna. I hear it’s legal, and, well; figured you’d..” When he realized both were (this is a quote) “a bit drunk and a lot stupid; though that’s kinda like being stoned,” the Tourist, who, without being asked, admitted he wasn’t a Galveston local but (another quote) “I am perty much accepted as one,”  and noting the waves had disappeared, asked, “So, what time does the next tanker go by.” “Tanker?” Beard said, laughing. “Tanker,” Hood said, rubbing the start of his own beard.

The guy in the van, window rolled down, scanned the horizon, over toward Victoria.