Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Abalone Catch - Part 3 of 4

Quiet Corner, Bruny Island
Copyright PC1134 of RedBubble
Inside the kitchen shed, shivering, I struck up a conversation with the couple. They were in their 70's, married for forty years, and traveling the world for retirement.

I kind of adopted them, like a cat adopts a family. They took kindly to me too. They offered me food and drink because I was cold, pathetic, and didn't bring enough supplies.

After awhile, I warmed up to them and asked them how to have a successful marriage. They both look surprised I asked such a question because they didn't really know the answer to it. They just seemed to have a happy marriage for forty years. The most I got out of them was that you should have similar values and get over being hurt and just make it work.

At about 10, we all said it was time to go to bed. It was cold outside. I had a thin tent.

I slept inside. But, at about 1 am, I was woken up. The rain pounded down so hard, it flattened my tent, and my tent collapsed.

And as I woke, I had a number of thoughts racing through my head. They weren't keeping me up, but they were on my mind. I started to pray. I wondered if it was better to stay in my tent, or go to the kitchen and sneak in and sleep on the couch. It'd still be cold in there, but at least, the rain wouldn't smash down the tent I was in.

But because I was in such peace and meditation, I felt better just continuing on in quiet thought. Then, I fell asleep again, until the cold, rainy morning, woke me.

The couple was in the kitchen before me. They made me coffee. That was nice. They also offered me oatmeal, which I refused, because I didn't want to take so much. They were very a kind couple. After the rain eased, we walked to the local cafe.

There, I bought them hot chocolate, which warmed them and made them feel fuzzy inside. I ordered a cappuccino. We all ordered scallop pies and took our time eating them.

That was the last day the cafe was in operation. And the owner was ugly and mean to us because that was his temperament.

I procrastinated to gear up to go diving. I didn't want to get back into the icy water. But, I put on my wet suit and grabbed my gear and went back to my dive site.

This time, I went during low tide. The water was much calmer. And within ten minutes of searching, I found huge abalones. And like a sea bird, that plunged in the water, foraging for food, and rising for air. I dove down, and used my knife to scrape them off the rocks. I'd only come up for air. Within an hour, I had collected 10 abalones, and placed them in my cheap, grocery, plastic bag. They were so big and heavy, that my bag ripped.

I felt victorious. I took the ripped bag and my ten abalones, and retied the bag. I shucked the abalone shells from the meat. One of them, had some caviar in it. I ate it raw. It seemed savage, but it tasted good.

I hurled the guts into the water, until a seabird noticed and started catching them in the midair - only to the abalone guts. I felt bad because I was killing abalones. And that was taking life.

I kept the two largest shells. And I walked back to my camp ground with a heavy bag of abalone.

The locals looked at me, upset that I took what they thought they owned. The cafe owner shouted: "I'm gonna call the police on you."

I thought - whatever, there's only one officer in the island.

I told him: "Go ahead! I have a license." And yes, I did purchase an abalone fishing license.

After taking a shower, I entered the kitchen. The couple was there. I told them, "I got my full catch."

They both told me well done.

Later that night, I took an abalone, which the couple never ate. I cooked it into soup. We all ate it. We all liked it.

She asked me, "Are you cooking it from a recipe?"

"Yes," I said. "My mom's."

I felt satisfied I earned my catch for Mom. It'd be her Christmas gift. It was raining hard still that night. This time, I decided to sleep in the kitchen shed.

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