Memories of Balak – I – published 2002/07/10

Nine years ago I helped save some fish. I wrote about it and my site chewed up the post. Here it is. I was a marine conservationist, and this is my story.

Sitting on a bench on the beach. It was a Saturday – that’s how come we were allowed to be drunk and disorderly on the beach, so we sat around the customary fire. Joe and I were feeling especially good due to having built the bench we were fighting for places on. As usual, as the night wore on, the week’s fatigue set in, and we were down to the final dozen folk left for the late night hard yards. This time, though a storm threatened to send us running for the cover of the house, with the typical torrential gobs of raining being hurled down from on high.

“First one to leave gets a beating,” put paid to any such notion, and half of us scrabbled for a leaky tarpaulin to hold above us. Carl went to fetch the canopy from one of his many boats, and sat bone dry and smug with a few others as the rain poured down. Fiercely proud, but not a little wet, Amy, Alex, Joe and myself huddled together to keep the worst of the downpour out. Ros inexplicably sat between the canopy and the tarp, getting the run off from both. Once the storm had decided that the tarp team (and Ros) were soaked to the skin, it decided to quit, but it was kind of hard to get warm again without standing above the fire. It was still glowing, giving off a very smokey heat, and left you with the choice of choking and drying, or shivering and breathing.

Despite the storm, a few survivors (fools to the initiated) decided to get a few of the flimsy mattresses onto the beach and stay in a swarm of blood-thirsty insects all night to see the dawn in. As usual, a few hours shy of sunrise, we fell asleep, and missed it entirely, and as usual, Laura crept off in the night back to her mosquito-netted room, leaving Joe and I to wake up parched and bitten in the early sun.

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