No good deed goes …

“Hey!” I shout to Gandalf. “What’s that floating in the shipping channel?” 

Gandalf looks, takes his time, says, “Maybe a seal. Can’t tell for sure.” Could be a seal, her back arched above the water’s surface as she dives. We continue to look, watch whatever it is appear, then disappear below the surface. 

“It’s not moving outa that one spot,” says Gandalf. He’s right, it’s staying pretty much in the same location, stationary.

“Let’s check it out,” say I, which we do, paddle over to check it out. What we find isn’t a seal. Isn’t alive.

“That’s a big tire,” says Gandalf, maneuvering our double next to what could be a big-rig tire, maybe a tractor tire. The tire’s floating vertically, barely submerged, invisible until an arc of its black seal-like rubber tread breaks the surface before disappearing again.

The tire’s no threat to us, but it could be trouble for a bigger, faster power boat churning through the shipping channel. The tire too big for us to haul out to nearby Rod Reck island, we decide to call the Coast Guard, alert them to the tire’s potential danger.

We use Dragon’s VHF radio to make the call, include our location coordinates. We describe the tire, say the current’s just now switching from slack to ebb, the tire starting to move south with the flow.

The Coast Guard thanks us, says they’ll broadcast an alert. Five minutes later, we hear the alert over channel 16. We’re very proud of ourselves, of our good deed.

A few paddle strokes after the alert’s broadcast, we near the southwest end of Rod Reck, spot two standup paddle boarders r&r’ing on a small pocket beach. 

“That whale swimming out by you guys was pretty spectacular,” says one. “We thought he was playin’ with you, checkin’ you out, swimmin’ so close,” says the other.

I look at Gandalf. Gandalf looks at Dragon. Dragon looks at Don’t Follow Don. “What whale?”

“You didn’t see the whale? He was right there.” We shake our heads “no”. We were so fixated on the tire and our good deed, we didn’t see what the fellows describe as a large, curious gray whale.

An altered “no good deed” meme sums up what should’ve been but wasn’t: No good deed goes rewarded.

We bid the paddle boarders farewell, adding before paddling off to Toilet Bowl Beach, “You sure about that whale?” 

The two laugh, shake their heads, wave us off.

We settle down on Toilet Bowl Beach 2 hours before sunset, the day crystal clear, keep a lookout for the whale. Don’t see him.

“Wanna build a cookfire?” says my growling stomach.

“Way too much daylight for a cookfire,” says Don’t Follow Don. 

“Way too warm,” says Gandalf.

“I’ve got food meant to be eaten cold,” says Dragon. Bless Irene, Dragon’s First Mate! She’s prepared chicken biryani over rice. “Took her 3 days to do it just right,” smiles Dragon.

Three days to prepare, 10 minutes to clean our plates, leave nothing but chicken bones. 

Irene’s chicken biryani and idle chitchat takes us as far as sunset, a cookfire, and Don’t Follow Don’s wok-fried spiralized veggies. More idle chatter keeps us on the beach till nightfall, none of us comfortable paddling back to Danny’s Secret Launch in daylight.

We look, of course we do, but we don’t see a whale. Just more proof that no good deed …


Date: Thurseve, 29 April 2021.

Distance: Five point two nautical miles.

Speed: One knot.

Time: Five point two hours.

Spray factor: Not really.

Dessert: Lemon cookies w/ caramel-like filling and chocolate-covered peanut butter cookies.