The Hinano Incident

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that our 6th anniversary had arrived. Our honeymoon was celebrated in Tahiti. We were married right in the middle of the Christmas rush, and we decided to wait just a little bit for the honeymoon. We left on our honeymoon just as the Opening Ceremonies for the 2002 Winter Olympics were getting started. We came home as the Closing Ceremonies were under way. Actually, we were in Los Angeles as the last flight was getting ready to go, and we watched some of the Gold Medal Hockey game in a crappy airport restaurant there. We were concerned because they were restricting airspace in Salt Lake because it had only been a few months since the attacks of 9|11. We were lucky to get back here that day at all. But that's another story for another day.

We're gathered here today to reminisce about The Hinano Incident.

We stayed at one of those places where they have the "over-water" thatched roof cabins. They are tres spendy and we didn't stay in one of them, but we did get a beach-front thatched roof cabin, and it was awesome. Every morning we made coffee on our porch and watched the ferry come from Papeete over to Moorea. The part of the island we stayed on was where you could see the morning sun come up over the other island. We spent some lovely mornings doing that.

On the map/picture above, our place was where the red dot is, the white line is where the ferry went every morning. The yellow dot is the industrial dock, and the populated area of the island. The two green dots are where the reef breaks (as you can see) and the massive cruise ships come into the island every few days. One thing about Moorea is that the sea current comes from the left of this picture, and splits in two and runs around the island, then joins up again on the other end. This will be significant to the story in a few moments. When you're laughing at me and secretly calling me "Gringo-honkey"...

So anyway, on the flight down we noticed they were selling the local beer - Hinano. We tried some and asked some questions about it. It's the country's contribution to the mass market beers, produced with way too little Hops, just like every other mass-produced beer. So now we were familiar with the name.

On one of the mornings we noticed a somewhat large yacht parked in the lagoon of our resort area. It had a great big Hinano logo on it and we were told that it belonged to the CEO of the company, and he comes over from the other island a couple of times a month for a long weekend. I also noticed a couple of young females aboard.

The island is ringed all the way around by a reef. Inside the reef, the water is relatively shallow - about 25 feet at the most. Outside the reef, the water drops off and is true ocean water. Inside the reef, water life abounds and there are colorful fish galore, reef formations, etc. We had planned to do a little snorkeling to see the sights, and on this morning we walked over to the little rental stand and rented the necessary masks and snorkels, along with the little tube-raft-motorized thing that would take us out to the spot we wanted to be. When we rented the masks, the guy asked us if we would like the flippers along with the masks. Being the macho type, I of course said hell no, we'll be just fine with our own two feet.

Now, before I continue to emasculate myself publicly, I'll say here that ThatOneWife is a great swimmer, was a lifeguard, swim team type person. Whereas me, not so much. I don't spend much time in the water, as I tend to crispifry quite quickly. I don't like to fish, don't like to waterski, had never owned a boat, etc. SHE, on the other hand is all of those things, except for the fishing part.

Anyway, we took our masks, and my white ass, and off we went out to tie up the little raft, and have a look-see at all the little fishies. All was great. We strapped on the masks and went over side for a lovely look. I really enjoyed myself after adjusting to breathing through a tube. I spent about 15- 20 minutes with my head down looking at a new and wonderful world. Then I looked up and realized I was about 100 yards away from the post and the dinghy thing. No problem, I'll just swim my butt back to the boat. So I started swimming, BUT I WASN'T MOVING. Like, not at all. The current was moving me parallel to the shore, away from our resort area and away from the boat. But not further away from shore. I was about 50-60 yards off shore. I was swimming my ass off, but not moving, and getting tired, fast. So I started yelling my head off, totally panicked. The folks on the Hinano yacht heard me, looked, and wondered if I was serious. I tried to assure them I was DEAD SERIOUS.

Now, just a side note here. As we drove the little dinghy thing out to the post, we came close enough to the Hinano Yacht that I was able to observe that at least ONE of the little females onboard was totally topless. This is not uncommon in the islands, but this one was, shall we say, enhanced. I made a comment about what a great life THAT must be. Anyway, back to the story, and my yelling like a fool. A drowning fool. ThatOneWife was about 100 yards further downstream from me, and I felt like it was two miles. She heard me yelling, the Hinano folks heard me yelling, and the dude on shore at the mask rental shop heard me yelling. And everyone hopped to it at about the same time. The folks on the boat jumped on a sea-doo thing, as did the dude on shore, and ThatOneWife started swimming like a freakin champ. Unlike me, she was able to make good time even though she was swimming straight up-current. The folks on the sea-doo from the yacht reached me first, and though I had cramped up, was dying, had been bitten by a man-eating shark, etc. They piled me onto the sea-doo, gathered up the Mrs. and took us over to their yacht. I had totally freaked out and panicked. Had I been even "sorta thinking" I would have realized that I could have made a turn to my left, kept swimming sideways in the current and easily reached the shore, about 30 feet from our front door. But no, I had to try to get back to the little boat, about 100 yards directly into the current.

Incidentally, once on board the yacht it WAS just gorgeous, and the girl WAS enhanced. They gave us some water, and let us rest up on the deck for a few minutes before I was just so ashamed I had to leave, right now. Once we got there, the female did cover up, sensing that we were not islanders (duh), and I might be more interested in ogling her boobs than, say, breathing, at that moment.

So we got back onto our little dinghy thing, and drove it back to the beach, where we handed in our stuff. The guy looked at me like I was an idiot, which of course I was.

This is the same beach where I got my tattoo.

So now whenever we go swimming at the local pool with the kids, or do something involving water - even if it's a hot tub, I say something like, "don't swim in the current." Or ThatOneWife says, "be careful of the water..." or "do you need some flippers, dear?" Funny. Freakin HILARIOUS.

Which is all rather humorous. Or not really.

But whether it is or not, it is the Hinano Incident. Soon it will be legend. And it gets recounted a little more often than I enjoy.

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