The boobie came out of nowhere.
First it landed on the stern of Ecologic Divers 50-foot catamaran Impromptu where it hung out briefly as if accessing the situation and finding it lacking in the proper handouts worthy of such an elegantly groomed and aloof bird.
So the boobie flew off.
Only to return after a brief review of the other catamarans out for a sunset cruise last night, and there were at least three.
For what ever reasons or high standards, the boobie returned, only this time it landed on the bow (if bow is the proper terminology for a catamaran) and spread its wings out like a bronze hood ornament. The move was not lost on the dozen or so Texas A&M medical students aboard who spontaneously broke out into a couple of choruses of “I Believe I Can Fly.”
Then they christened the bird “Bob.”
The brown boobie seemed to appreciate the attention, and the hat-tip to R. Kelly. At any rate, it stayed aboard for the rest of the evening cruise. And everytime I heard “Bob” I of course turned to the speaker, only to see someone face to face with the boobie.
Would it have hung around if it had been met by the chorus to “Wind Beneath My Wings” or a lot of stale “Titanic” references? And called Leonardo?
At any rate, for a cluster of pale med students who literally came straight from Houston to the Ecologic Divers dock (a 90-minute flight delay prevented them from checking into Pedro’s Hotel until after the cruise), the brown boobie provided a brilliant introduction to Belize.
The students are under the wing of the San Pedro Red Cross, which had been asked to set them up with a developing country medical immersion experience for the coming week. Unfortunately the university request came only a month ago and Belize bureaucracy requires at least four months to approve any sort of “hands on” experience.
So, the resourceful team at the Red Cross set up observation opportunities here at the island’s four free clinics and the main Polyclinic and a similar experience on the mainland in Corozal Town.
But last night was simply about slow cruising, decompressing, sipping a first Belikan and then a few pina coladas and rum punches — OK, it was an open, bottomless-glass bar for all — as the sun gloriously set in the west.
Some of the students were curious about island living. So I told them, quite honestly that my day started when my pal Jeff and I kayaked out to the reef north of Tres Cocos for a few hours of spear fishing and Go Pro filming. Afterward we walked over to Marbucks for a couple of piping hot Americano coffees and some strawberry scones, with strawberry cream cheese on top.
Afterward, I walked hom, read some more of TH White’s brilliant “Once and Future King,” took a nap, met friends at the Palapa Bar for the boat ride down to Ecologic Divers for the sunset cruise … and here we are.
I did not imply that this was an everyday thing but I think I got them sufficiently envious.
As night descended and stars burst across the sky like fireworks, Rose and I sat together on the steps at the stern and watched the light play on our wake as we headed back to town. It was the kind of quiet moment of bliss and intimacy that a good sunset cruise can bring out in couple. And this was a really good cruise.
When the Impromptu pulled into the dock, the med students went off in search of food and lodging, we locals took a swift boat back to the Palapa Bar up north and our awaiting rides home, and the energetic crew set about spiffing up the boat for the next day’s cruise.
Only Bob stayed on the bow, looking a bit perplexed at the sudden disappearance of his fan base.
Now I worry that maybe Bob was in need of some medical attention.
That would be ironic.