"We must go now, or we will die." our guide said matter-of-factly.
Sea kayaking, what a great idea! We paired up, two/per divorce-kayak. Since there were five of us, one had to go it alone. Matthew stepped up. He soon regretted that. Maureen and Patricia confidently paired up, having much experience kayaking together on Spot Pond back in Stoneham. Julie and I paired up.
The sea was angry that day. Dado (Dah-do or Darien, whichever you prefer) and Antonio were our guides for the Dubrovnik Adventures Sunset Sea-kayaking tour. It was to be a three-hour tour. Three of us made it back, two Rosie-Ruiz-ed it.
We all made it to the first pause point. "Everyone okay? Anyone need speed boat?" Dahdo asked as we bobbed up and down. The sea swells could be nausea-inducing, but all were okay.
The second pause point was near the Old Port. As glass-bottom boats and speed boats sped past us, Dado told us a bit of history about the quarantine building and Bano Beach. Dubrovnik survived the Black Plague by quarantining all new arrivals for 40 days, 8 days per the 5 sections. Where fashionable people crowded the beach to be seen today was where they hosed off the sick then. That is why it is called, essentially, Bathroom Beach now. "I don't like," Dado said.
The third pause point was in front of a swanky hotel. It could be yours for the low-low price of 7,000 Euros a night. Just hurry, they book 3 years in advance.
The fourth point was a stop at a sandy beach nook in a cave, overcrowded with dozens of fellow kayakers. Julie and I snorkeled for three minutes, and then returned to the beach to see a sea gull steal a whole sandwich, plastic and all. We weren't hungry anyway.
"Okay, now I talk about the War" Dado told us Dubrovnik is a UNESCO site and cannot have an military arms, so that's why the men defended their city with hunting rifles and they weren't expecting it. Also, that the country borders now were the ones pre-Yugoslavia. The war accomplished nothing.
In between the fifth point and the six was when The Drama happened. Facing in the wrong direction, Maureen and Patricia tried to turn around. Somehow they ended up what seemed like miles away, still facing in the wrong direction. And they continued in that direction. "Where are they going?"
Antonio paddled after them. "You told us you kayak before. I don't believe you."
"We have kayaked SEVEN times on Spot Pond!" Patricia informed him as the speed boat appeared. Hasselhof reached out and said, "you want a tow?"
I wish we were closer to hear their cackles and giggles and see their waves as they were towed back. They were released 100 meters before the end-point, so they could finish strong. Just like Rosie Ruiz.
Meanwhile, with increasing winds (not at our backs), open-sea swells, tired arms and a setting sun, we dug deep to finish. Left, right, left, right. But with every paddle, it seemed we were standing still. "Are we going anywhere Julie?!"
At pause six Dado said something about something and then he said, "we must go now or we will die. Please follow me."
Julie cheerleaded, "Home-stretch!" That homestretch stretched on and on and on and on.
When we did make it back, our ladies were reclining on the beach with a plastic cup of wine in hand. Patricia explained, "We were doing fine until we started going the wrong way."