Friends find the unexpected during their dream vacation
| As the boat slowly glided into the quiet lagoon, the enthusiastic passengers gazed around in awe at the enchantment of it all. “Ken, you didn’t exaggerate about the beauty of this place. This is going to be the adventure of a lifetime!” Lara gasped. Her excitement was obvious. “Look at all the colors! The water is the cleanest blue I’ve ever seen! I can see the sand at the bottom! Oh, look over there. Is that a parrot?” Lara pointed to the beach at a brightly colored bird that was taking a lazy rest on a large, green banana leaf.
Ken smiled at his sister. Lara, twenty four years old, still danced on her tip toes when she gets excited just as she did when she was a little girl. Ken, a distinguished boatman, had told Lara and her husband, Nick, about this paradise-like deserted island. At the time, Lara and Nick were trying to think of an exciting vacation to go on with their best friends, Amy and Andy, so this idea sounded heaven-sent.
Ken and his friends visited this island several times since they stumbled upon it six months ago. With each visit, they brought lots of supplies to give it all the comforts of home. On the last trip they brought and set up shed kits, knowing that they will be coming back a lot. Now they have a large shed, featuring upgraded treated lumber and skylights, for a trustworthy shelter. In addition, they have a smaller shed for storage, and another for a bathroom. The bathroom has all of the best camping items, including a state-of-the-art potty and a hanging fill-up shower.
“Let’s go see if it will let us hold it,” Amy suggested to Lara, still talking about the bird. Amy climbed down the ladder of the boat. “Ah, the water is so warm. Come on Lara.”
Lara looked over to make sure the guys were getting all of their things loaded onto the raft. “Go on, Lara, we’re almost done here. We’ll meet you on the beach in a couple of minutes.” Nick assured as he handed one of the last boxes over the side to Andy and Ken.
Lara didn’t need any more coaxing. With a quick jump, she dove in and came up at the side of Amy. She pushed her long, drenched, blond locks out of her face to reveal a very large smile. “Wow! This water is warm! Ready?”
“Ready.” Amy concurred, and the two women swam toward the beach until the water was shallow enough for them to feel the powder soft sand beneath their feet. They paused there for a minute to marvel at the sights and sounds.
“This feels terrific.” Amy began. "The sand is so soft and clean, the water is so warm, the canopy of shiny green trees drapes the beach, the birds are singing. I can hardly believe that we’re actually here. It’s like a dream!”
Lara, who never stopped smiling, said, “The guys started to bring the raft. Let’s get onto the beach.”
Lara and Amy watched as Nick, Andy and Ken pulled the bright blue life boat raft through the water. The three men laughed and behaved like playful children, splashing water at each other every step of the way. As soon as the raft was pulled onto the beach, Lara and Amy rushed over to help them unload.
“The campsite is up there,” Ken pointed in the direction of some trees on a slight hill. “Let’s bring the boxes there, and then I’ll go over everything with you before I leave.” Ken felt confident that his sister, her husband and friends would be fine here for their week-long vacation. In addition to the island being safe and people-friendly, they have a large variety of supplies at their disposal.
At the top of the hill, Ken felt humbly glad to see the reaction of the two couples. Andy spun Amy around in circles, while Lara gave Nick a strong squeeze. Amy and Lara then gave some strong bear hugs to Ken. Andy and Nick joined in with sturdy handshakes.
The campsite was planned perfectly. The three sheds sat comfortably in the clearing, surrounded safely by tall palm trees. There was also a picnic table, a tree swing, and some hammocks set up nearby.
After the group brought all their items up from the raft, Ken briefed them on what he thought they needed to know. “OK, so it looks like you guys are all set. That’s a good place to set up your two tents,” Ken pointed to an open space at the other side of the clearing. “You will need to set up the camping stove from the storage shed over here by those rocks,” Ken pointed to the area nearby the table where they sat. Ken paused for a moment in thought, and then continued speaking. “It would probably be a good idea to set up that screened gazebo you brought right over this table. There aren’t too many bugs on this island, but the ones that are here can be pesky."
Ken looked around, and then sat up, eyes wide, at the mountains behind the trees. “Oh yes. Over there, you can see a large star that is spray painted on the side of the mountain. Right above that is your fresh water, supplied from a running stream. There are several cases of bottled water in the storage shed, but it’s good to know that water is there too. The mountains are there for your use too. My friends and I were here in such a bad storm, that we decided to sleep in one of the caves until it blew over. It doesn’t look like you’ll get any rain this week, but it’s something else to explore if you get bored.”
Nick laughed, “Your sister packed so many board games, that I don’t see how we’d ever get bored.”
Ken returned the chuckle. “I guess this table will be getting lots of use. Don’t forget though, that there is also a smaller table in the shed shelter. I remember that you said you were planning on hanging around there in the bad weather and in the dark, but it would probably be a good idea to sleep in there if it rains instead of sleeping in your tents.”
“What else,” Ken mumbled to himself. “Oh yes, fishing poles. I am leaving the raft with you guys incase you want to try fishing. The fishing poles are in the storage shed. There are also plenty of canned and packaged foods in the storage shed.” Everyone laughed. “But fishing is an option if you would like to try. Just remember not to leave the lagoon with the raft. The waters beyond the lagoon could get choppy and unsafe. If you get hurt, you will basically be on your own until I come for you on the weekend. Even if you contact someone on the radio that’s in the shed, the closest land is three days away. So…”
“Don’t get hurt,” Lara blurted out, quickly finishing her older brother’s sentence. “Don’t worry big brother. You have this place set up like a camping resort. What could possibly go wrong?”
With Ken satisfied that the vacationers would be alright for the week, they said their goodbyes and he was on his way. The two couples waved as the boat exited the lagoon. They looked forward to their adventure of a lifetime.
“Look, a couple of green and red parrots are flying over our campsite,” Amy announced. The four friends looked up for a second, then continued putting away the game of Monopoly which they just finished playing.
“We’ve been here for two days already, yet I am still amazed that we are actually here. It is like a dream come true,” Lara shared.
“It’s better than a dream come true, Lara. You have one awesome brother. If it weren’t for him, we would be looking at caged parrots right now in a crowded zoo somewhere,” Andy added.
Amy closed up the Monopoly box and asked, “Lara, do you want to try to make toasted coconut?”
“If you think we could get a coconut opened,” Lara chuckled.
Amy giggled with thoughts of what she was about to say. “Of course we could. Your brother is like the professor from Gilligan’s Island. He left maps of where all the edible fruit are on this island, and detailed instructions on how to eat them. There is a whole page of notes on how to open a coconut.”
“Not only that,” Andy interrupted. “There is a bookshelf in the shelter shed filled with how-to books. If we read them, we would know how to do everything from building a log cabin to delivering a baby.”
“I don’t know about you,” Nick began teasingly. “But I don’t plan on spending one glorious minute on this island reading how-to books. Actually, I did look over the one about how to fish. Do you want to try fishing now?”
“Sure,” Andy stood up from his chair and shook the thick black curls out of his eyes. “Just give me one minute to change into my swim trunks.” Andy gave Amy a quick kiss as he walked by her. “Good luck with that coconut.”
Amy ran off, too. “I’ll get the stuff that we need for chopping.”
Lara winked at Nick. “Do you really think you’re going to catch a fish?”
Nick tenderly caressed his wife around the waist. “Honey, when you’re done with that coconut, you better read up on seafood recipes because this fisherman is bringing back a feast of fish.” The couple engaged in a long kiss, until Andy returned.
“Enough of that,” Andy joked. “We have places to go, things to do, and fish to see.” They laughed as Nick took one of the fishing poles from Andy.
“Remember not to leave the lagoon,” Lara reminded them.
Just then, Amy returned with a small box and a radio. “I put the notes and the chopping tools in this box. Do you realize that we have been here for a whole two days without music? I found this radio in the storage shed. Your brother has a few radios and lots of batteries. Some of the radios work on solar power. Now we can have music.” Amy set up the radio on the table as she spoke.
“Aw! I can hardly believe that we forgot all about listening to music! How stupid of me! I knew the radios were there,” Lara regretted deeply that she forgot to set up the radios.
“At least we have music now. It’s better late than never. Come on. Let’s heat up that stove,” Amy said with sincere enthusiasm.
Amy and Lara spent a good hour trying to get the coconut open, but it was fun. “I can’t remember the last time that I laughed this hard,” Amy commented while dicing up the last of the coconut pieces.” Both women felt true friendship.
Meanwhile, the guys had been feeling similar sentiments. “We’re back,” Andy proclaimed proudly.
“And we brought home the bacon, or in this case, the fish,” Nick said in jest.
“Amy, tell me those boys don’t have a bucket of fish in their hands,” Lara whispered with her jaw hanging open.
“I heard that! Don’t worry girls. Not only are Nick and I going to clean the fish, but we intend on cooking it too,” Andy stated matter-of-factly. The two guys seemed to be in a great mood, probably because they were able to catch so many fish.
Amy and Lara danced together while the guys prepared the fish. Suddenly a news announcement interrupted the music station. “We interrupt with continuing coverage of the war situation.”
Lara rubbed her forehead in bewilderment. “What war situation? Did he just say something about a war situation?”
“Hush, Lara, let’s listen to this,” Lara’s husband requested.
The radio announcer continued, “The leader of Iraq announced that they plan on carrying out their threat of launching nuclear weapons on several of the United Arab countries. What’s this? Yes ladies and gentlemen. It is happening now. We have news just in that Iraq has launched. I repeat. Iraq has launched.”
Before the group of friends could utter a word about what has happened, the broadcaster announced more bone chilling information. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is just in. Great Britain has launched some nuclear missiles with hopes of stopping some of Iraq’s missiles while they are still in the sky. Oh! The United States has followed suit.”
As if some bad joke had been done on the group of friends, the words from the announcer’s voice continued to get worse. “Ladies and gentlemen, China has launched numerous missiles on all countries that have already launched missiles. Iraq replied by sending out the rest of its nuclear weapons on Great Britain, the United States, and China. Russia has joined in with hopes of exploding some of the mess in the sky, however there was an accident. Several of the nuclear missiles have exploded at the start of their launch.”
The little radio abruptly went silent. “What just happened,” Lara questioned.
“It sounds like the whole freaking world was just blown up,” Andy whined.
Amy began to scream hysterically. Andy put his arm around her. Were those tears that streamed down his cheeks?
“What should we do? Nothing. There is nothing that we can do,” Nick spoke mainly to himself, trying to sort it all out. He looked at the others and paced back and forth as he spoke, “We can’t do anything else at this point but wait. We have a radio; we will just have to keep listening for when it comes back on. I’m sure Ken is alright. He will come back for us. In the meantime, we will have to just wait. I think we are safe here. We are away from it all in the South Pacific. We have everything that we need. We will just have to wait.”
Nick sounded nervous, but assuring. The others were quiet and in astonishment. Nick was right, in a way. The war wasn’t going on where they were, so all they could do is hope that the world would survive. With plenty of love, friendship and supplies, they would wait.