It had been years since we’ve last seen each other. Johnny and his fiancé moved to South Carolina to start a family away from the hustle and bustle of South Florida. I relocated to California in search of greener pastures and Andrew was living the dream—fishing nearly every day. Andrew had just repowered Unforgettable and was itching to make a crossing to the islands. Somehow Johnny got permission from his fiancé to take off for a few days and I had nothing better to do, so we planned a quick trip in search of wicked wahoo.
The night before our departure we met at Andrew’s to load up his tricked out Contender. Not surprisingly the rum was flowing and as a result it took an additional two-hours to pack the boat. By the time the boat was loaded the rum was gone, and so was Andrew.
Four o’clock a.m. came way too soon and I stumbled out of bed, grabbed my backpack and drove to Andrew’s. Steps from his front porch and I could already hear him snoring. Some things never change. Johnny and I woke him up and made final preparations before casting off. Andrew has always been a control freak and an obsessive compulsive one at that.
“Let me see your passports,” Andrew said while inputting the 80-mile waypoint. “Here’s mine,” said Johnny. “My passport is buried in my backpack, I’ll grab it on the other side,” I muttered. “No, now! If we get to the customs office and you don’t have your passport I am going to leave you there,” exclaimed Andrew. “Whatever, I’ll get it later, let’s go fishing,” I said.
We cleared the inlet and were greeted by calm seas. This was going to be an epic trip. Within two-hours we were approaching our destination and strung up the yellow quarantine flag. In front of the customs office we began to gather our passports and immigration forms. I thought it would be funny to play a joke on Andrew, pretending I couldn’t find my passport. “Dude, I could’ve sworn I put it in my bag last night. I thought it was here. Must’ve been all that rum. I can’t believe I forgot it!”
I played it off like a champ and could see the fire burning in Andrew’s eyes.
“Are you kidding!” Andrew blurted. “I’m going to lose it. That’s why I asked you to give it to me BEFORE we left! If you don’t find it I’m seriously going to knock your teeth out,” he shouted.
Knowing exactly where my passport was I pretended to search for 15-minutes while Andrew fumed in the background. After letting him get worked up to the point of absolute rage, I decided to break the silence. “I found it! I knew I had it all along,” I interjected.
“Finally! We’ve already missed half of the outgoing tide because of your stupidity,” Andrew continued. “Haven’t you grown up at all?”
He forcefully grabbed the passport from my hand and stormed off towards the customs office with his boat bag in hand. Johnny and I joked about how funny it was to mess with Andrew. No sooner than we finished laughing he returned to the boat.
“Wow, I’ve never seen Bahamian officials work so fast. See, we’re not that far behind after all,” I commented.
Andrew glared at me with a stern face and I knew something was wrong. “I can’t find MY passport,” he interjected.
I couldn’t help but laugh. Andrew was seriously pissed off. After tearing the boat apart for the next hour we came to the conclusion that his passport was nowhere to be found. With no option but to make the crossing back home, I wanted to make the best of our short jaunt. I ran to the conch shack and ordered up a bowl of fresh conch salad. When I got back to the boat Andrew was practically in tears.
“Should have checked to make sure you had your passport before we left the dock,” I said.
Andrew was clearly upset and asked if I would man the helm so he could sleep away his sorrows. Within a few minutes he was out cold while I enjoyed fresh conch salad, keeping my eyes locked on the horizon. We made it back safe and sound and although we didn’t get to fish, I still a great time. With years of experience on the water, I’ve learned to take the good with the bad.
While everyone knows drinking and driving is a bad decision, let this be a lesson to you…drinking and packing is another activity that should be avoided altogether.