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The Strange Tale of the Ocean Burglar

These days I can hop in the ocean for a swim whenever I feel like it. This is particularly nice in the summer when the water’s calm and warm and the sea critters keep their distance.

So imagine my surprise the other day when I saw a fellow in full-on wet suit and snorkel gear, swimming back and forth along the beachfront. Wierd — because you hardly ever see anyone in a wetsuit here, even on those few surf-worthy days. What’s more, the guy was just slowly floating along, about 50 yards out, not really going anywhere.

Then one of the lifeguards started to blow his whistle at the guy and gesture in an agitated fashion. Who knew … I had never even seen the lifeguards move before. Kind of like those motionless iguanas who sun themselves on the rocks all day.

The snorkler started half-heartedly swimming downshore, but probably realized he was never going to outswim a rescue ATV. Accordingly, he made a dash for the beach. Dragging along, of all things, a fishing line loaded with what looked to be over 20 ocean perch or red snapper. Despite being loaded down with two dozen fish and wearing a full-body wetsuit, mask and snorkel, the perch poacher managed to elude the (now thoroughly amused) lifeguard.

I don’t know what rule the guy broke, if any. But I definitely felt like I had just witnessed the “ocean perch” version of the Seinfeld “lobster” episode.

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