Blue boat in Maluk West Sumbawa Indonesia

Superman

We caught word of an uncrowded wave breaking in an isolated bay. So we set off to the nearest port at the crack of dawn. After approaching a couple of fishing boats with the aim of charter, we finally find one with a price we could justify.

Our captain introduces himself as Superman. Welcoming us with his good sense of humour. We hop on and settle into what is essentially a stabilised, powered canoe. The ride over is long and loud, powered by a 6-ish horsepower Honda 2 stroke with a Yamaha sticker plucked on, or vice versa.

Superman drops us off at the wave, which isn’t as good as the word on the street suggested. Albeit a bit disappointed we decide to stay anyway. After miming that we wish to be picked up in two hours time, Superman agrees and trundles off to do his dailies with our, admittedly little, money and spare gear in tow. We surf our surf and settle into the beach to wait on the return of our captain.

With the sun, our only timepiece, climbing ceaselessly. The jokes about being stranded slowly take on the air of “what if?” The hours drag on and we shift with our dwindling shade as the sun reaches its zenith, we loose faith in Superman. I mean what kind of bullshit name is that anyway? Fortunately another crew of fishermen arrive to work the bay. We strike a deal, talking it down from full extortion to only semi-extortion, to return to our original harbour.

The boat ride back is fairly low spirited. It has an aura or relief but there is an pervasive sense of disappointment. We keep an eye for Superman as we bend into the bay. Lo and behold there he is! But it looks like he’s prepping to leave. Fuck that as a joke, we’re not gonna miss him by this narrow a margin. The boat hits sand and I hit a running start. Leaving the my co-strandee to deal with this boatman.

Shouting and whistling for Superman, who has now departed, to turn around. Perhaps it’s the thunder of the straining motor or the fact that he doesn’t recognise his given name, but Superman continues to motor out to sea. Just as I get to his point of departure, no doubt piqued but this unrelenting, intensifying racket, captain Superman glances shore ward. Where he sees me, delirious with thirst and wounded faith, jumping and shouting.

The man pulls up to shore and expresses his clearly heartfelt apologies by simply repeating the word sorry. It’s at this point that the true expanse of the language gap becomes clear. What we thought conveyed two hours time, must have been interpreted as at two o’clock. I do my best to reassure him that no hard feelings are held.

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