There are hazards to deal when you're going backwards as we rowers do. I've collided with everything from the expected, like logs, tangles of seaweed, bits of boats, and other scullers, to the unexpected, a newspaper kiosk, a piano bench, a body, a message in a bottle, and a duck hunting decoy that had me completely fooled (I couldn't figure out why the duck didn't "duck" when I got close).
But never has an airborne fish hit me. Until today.
The mornings are dark these days. Really dark. And Stefan very wisely ordered new lights for our boat. Klieg light-bright, our new LED lights fix firmly to our hull, bow and stern, and protect us from the fishing boats racing by us on the inky predawn waters.
The white stern light is particularly glaring and just this morning Stefan said he wouldn't be surprised if it attracted fish when…WHAP!
A big fish leapt out of the water, flew over Stefan's rigger, whizzed past my head close enough to give me a haircut, and did a swan dive back into the bay. A few swearwords later, we were fine.
Was it a flying fish? A bony-headed sturgeon sounding? Who knows. It was big and it was close. And it reminded me that as we skim over the Pacific's watery depths, untold creatures glide beneath us like ghosts in the night.