Day by day, things are getting better on the boat. I'm getting to do more interesting tasks, basic but gratifying, mostly outside. I've been working alongside our Bosun, a boy with a face so sunburned it makes his blue eyes and the whites around them blaze. Everyone just calls him Bosun, or Bous. He can do everything. Whatever needs to be done will be done if he's around. Whenever I work with him I pretend I'm his apprentice. I trail him like a baby duck, doing exactly what he says, needing extremely clear direction for even the simplest things. I try and be helpful and initiate, but the one time I hammered something without checking first, and I hammered with gusto and confidence- look at me, problem-solving! She doesn't need direction, she's a natural!- It turns out I should have been screwing it, not pounding it, and the resulting bent piece needed about two hours of fixing.
As of yet, it has not been traced back to me.
We built an extendable dock to put off of the fan taie. It took two full eleven hour days. He showed me really quickly how to tie a Bowlan and I got it right the first time. I actually tied a big thing onto another big thing. When he kneeled down to re-tie it, assuming I'd done it wrong, he was totally surprised. "Holy shee-it!" He said. "It's a Bowlan! First time I've ever seen anyone get that right the first time." Then he stepped onto the dock and lit a cigarette.
I was holding a nut in place while he tightened down the screw on the railings of our new dock. It was mid day, sweltering hot. We'd been working since 7:30 in the morning. "What are you smiling like that for?" He asked.
I looked down at the wrench in my hand. "Because. This is the first time I've ever used tools."
The day I got back from my grandmother's funeral, after three days away, one of the other guides quit. Out of nowhere. Said he didn't want to do the long days anymore, he was ready to retire. Now there are just three of us. The strange thing was, he had been happy and hardworking and enthusiastic those first few weeks, when I was struggling, and half awake, and telling my boss I couldn't do it, I thought I had to quit. But it was the other guy who left. He's in Hawaii now. And it looks like I'm staying on, for a whole summer of bowlans and tools and other things I couldn't do before.