Last weekend brought the Blue Angels (accomplished Marine and Navy pilots that helm fast, loud planes in Top Gun-style maneuvers) to Kaneohe Bay for some rousing air shows. My roommate is in a sailing club so she invited me out on her friend’s 34 ft sailboat with a group of other sailing buddies to watch the festivities from an excellent vantage point in the center of K-Bay.
Like my early bird father, the captain wants to get a jump on a good spot. My father will have us in the car on our way to the Outback for dinner at 4pm siting traffic and a “no reservations” policy for this ridiculous head start – at most this is a 30 minute drive. I’m always in the car thinking, “Are we about to have dinner at 4:30? I just finished throwing up lunch.” In the same vein, Captain (Time) Crunch has us meeting at the boat at 9am for a show that starts at 3:30pm.
I unsuspectingly get up at 8am unsure what time we need to be at the boat but knowing they usually meet about 11am. I am immediately in fire drill mode foraging for worthy contributions to the ice chest, hunting up and de-molding my snorkel gear, rifling through my beach bag to ensure all sunscreen needs and back-up garments with a dry crotch are provided for while trying to get some iced coffee down my neck at hearing we have to be there by 9am.
We get onboard, out in the bay and start getting to know our fellow sailors. I latch on to the couple, Aaron and Steve (of course I do). Steve I had met before but didn’t realize he was gay until he brought steamed edamame in a pot complete with matching dishtowel to our post-sailing BBQ. That dishtowel might as well have been a perfumed and sequined rainbow flag the way it immediately amped up the sonar on my gaydar. I happily aside to my roommate, “Oh yay, he rocks the Eve in Steve!”
On settling in, Aaron says to Steve, “Oh, I forgot the earplugs.” Ah, thank you, we got the gayest phrase we will hear today out of the way. Not only that, think on your pedicured feet for ear-stopping options, Mary, you brought brie didn’t you?
Aaron is a flight attendant and former New Orleans bartender so he laughs at everything I say plus his cooler is filled with thoughtful items… pewter bottle opener, extensive cheese selection, N’awlins beer huggies, tasteful bamboo cutting board, gallon of water and carafe to pour it from, etc. I categorically crush hard on him. I want us to be life long girlfriends and have Real Houseswives-themed slumber parties.
My day 2 buddy (I went out Sat and Sun — all the crew changed except Capt CK, my roommate and her houseguest) is the young cousin of my roommate’s friend. I love her because she says I am one of the only people she’s seen in Hawaii that doesn’t have toe nails that look like snail shells, we belt out Rihanna to the radio together, we both suffer mild hypothermia during snorkeling and curse our MIA dingy driver through chattering purple lips and she brings one of those Bud Light Micheladas as her drink of choice. Ole.
Capt TC has not seen a can of Michelada before. I inform him they are like a beer with a splash of bloody mary. He starts to read the ingredients aloud and false starts on the word “Clamato” enough that I chime in with “chlamydia”. I then spout that chlamydia is actually the secret ingredient in a Michelada (although now that I think about it, it may very well be a key element in Clamato too). Oh, what merriment to pretend we can mix drinks with STDs!
Throughout the day the Red Baron gets the crowd going by doing climbs and free falls. The first few times you see this, you glance, possibly discuss airsickness and keep chatting with your neighbor. By the 5th time (and once you are well into the wine), you stop mid-sentence and gape in awe at this amazing daredevil. Like magic, you can mix alcohol with mildly impressive feats and transform them into show stopping shit bombs. (This same idea supports the “beer goggles” theory of late night, barstool beauty.)
As we approach show time, the bay has filled with all types of boats. You can plainly see the dichotomy that gender and age bestow on us when comparing these various vessels and their inhabitants. Next to us are the young crowd crammed into small tethered-together motorboats, baring as much nubile skin as is legal, blasting Kanye, passing bags of chips and swilling from red Solo cups while periodically back flipping overboard to pee (the few girls on these boats hold onto the sides and dangle their butts into the water while I helpfully point out to everyone on our boat, “look, that girl is peeing!”) We, the ancient mariners (or the half dead), are lounging on various ends of the boat, tapping feet to the Doobie Bros, sipping from wine glasses and nibbling at a fruit and cheese plate whilst wearing conservative bathing suit cover-ups and occasionally disappearing below deck for a discreet hit of the head.
Finally, it is show time. Once one hears a Blue Angel roar by, it’s almost too late to see it, they are that speedy (and exciting). They fly at each other mimicking a game of chicken, veering away at the last minute or each flipping on their side to avoid the other. There is no way to watch this and not imagine the pure, adrenaline-filled joy this must give the pilots. Their job is to Evil Knievel over some of the most incredible panoramas in this country. Those lucky hot dogs… if someone paid me to be reckless, I could have retired at 29 (back in the day when a Michelada wasn’t the only one with the secret ingredient).
When the planes fly over, the beasts in the motorboats next to us unleash and go into a monkey-assed frenzy. They beat chests, high five and grunt-scream “do me!” to the jets overhead. I wish I was exaggerating. They are behaving like these aircrafts have tits (or are throwing footballs). I swear each time the planes pass, the motorboat boys (I’m sure I just made a valid double entendre) get a collective hard on.
I’m trying to think what could possibly get me this excited… being mobbed by kittens and puppies, the pilot episode of the Mindy Project (I totally raised my fist and said “yes” at the end of that show like it had somehow validated my existence) or a pill that erases wrinkles and fat? But seriously, none of these examples could have me in Michael Phelps post-gold stance flexing my arms like a Neanderthal complete with veins bulging from my neck while bellow-demanding “do me”. I’d be more likely to quietly leak uncontrollable fluids from various orifices while giggling hysterically at the pure pleasure caused by the baby animal mob. Oh Christ, let me just re-read that… a puppy orgy and a fat–free body? What an embarrassingly sexless fantasy life I have. I really am half dead.
On day 2, my roommate, Michelada, her cousin and I snorkeled all around Coconut Island (aka, the island they used as Gilligan’s in the opening shot of that show). It harbors a beautiful abundance of colorful fish and coral. Who needs “Finding Nemo” in 3D? I saw Dory no less than 10 times. (Yes, I have the marine biology knowledge of a Pixar-educated 4 yr old.) Fortunately, no one reminded me of the large hammerhead population in the bay until later that week.
We were pulled over by the jet ski police twice as they misguidedly thought we were spear fishing along the reef. They‘ve got to be better profilers than that, we are middle-aged, animal-loving (by the above puppy/kitten paragraph, pathetically so) haole women. I volunteer, “we’re not looking to harm anything, just see some pretty colors and pee out some wine”. I’m not really sure that helped our case with the maritime Popo.
Michelada’s cousin has the curse of limitless jabber. One of those people where it’s so excessive that it becomes white noise. We better hope she is not the first to see an ocean predator because her warnings will get lost in the interminable mix — which is ironic because the blood leaking from our ears will undoubtedly draw them to us.
Now, we can all succumb to the mouthy muse at times. I can be a ruthless offender after my morning swim and coffee. Also, with each drink I get more verbose (up until I can’t form words, but rumor is, I have forged ahead in that inarticulate state regardless) and when I used to smoke weed, forget it, the first bong hit would have me motor mouthing like an auctioneer. But, as we swim, every time I pop my melon up to ensure we are still floating along together and no one’s being nailed by a hammerhead, I hear her non-stop yammer head. We are Darth Vadering thru the water with snorkels in our yaps, how in Neptune’s salty balls is she still talking?
After about an hour in the water, Michelada and I are shivering from a string of cold water pockets, slight dehydration and her cousin’s voice hammering in our knuckleheads, but our dingy driver chose this time to go back to the boat for a beer. I no longer need to look at the brain coral below the water’s surface because it is blossoming from each of my waterlogged fingertips. My own dehydrated brain coral starts to obsess about the movie “Open Water” — although we are right off an island in a bay full of boats. I suggest we get a stick and pretend to stab at the sea life so the police will come back and pick us up. Finally, we hear the telltale fart of the dingy motor and are soon whisked to the grilled sausage and dry crotched haven of the boat.
By the time the jets roar in for a landing, my roommate is searching up Capt. TC’s emergency stash jug of Yellow Tail Chardonnay that he made the mistake of telling us is hidden in his toolbox. When we pull into the dock close to sunset, we have drained every drop of wine on board and made several yellow-tailed trips to the head. We unload belongings and the diehards collect on deck to eat cookies washed down with silver bullets of Coors Light.
We look to the sky for the final air show of the day and watch the Polynesian full moon rise over the glittering ocean while etching out palm tree silhouettes in its brilliance. Every day I’m still in Hawaii is a good day, and this is a heavenly finish to a (blue) angelic day.