Mark’s Water Taxi Service

Our retired captain has found himself a little side-hustle—it doesn’t pay anything, but it highly amuses the rest of us.


Like he does most mornings, Mark hopped onto his paddle board and headed to shore for his daily run. But today, he suddenly found himself running a free shuttle service.


The problem starts with Mark making it look easy to stand up on and navigate a paddle board in the first place. They really aren’t too terribly hard, but it does take a bit of practice to get the hang of it. And Mark makes it look simple.


As he was paddling along, headed towards a dock near the shore a local fisherman started waving at him. Mark returned a friendly wave back but it was clear the man wasn’t just saying hello but more of a beckoning for him to come over. So Mark altered his course and headed over. As he neared the dock where the man was standing, the fisherman held up a set of keys and shook them.


Mark thought that the man wanted him to shuttle the keys over to one of the anchored fishing boats and hand them over to someone. Sounded easy and helpful, so he paddled over to the man.


As he got close, Mark expected the man to thrust his arm out and hand him the keys, but this is not what happened.  Instead, in a single startling motion, the keys went back in the man’s pocket as he lept onto the front of Mark’s paddle board. 


Mark had not considered this drastic course of action because the man was fully dressed in pants, shirt, shoes, and even a sport coat—he didn’t even remotely look like he planned to get wet. So as the man was in mid-flight, between dock and paddle board, a very surprised Mark gripped his paddle and braced himself for an inevitable overturn. 


Once the fisherman landed, the board went into a wobbly see-sawing death throe and the fisherman’s eyes widened in shocked surprise. 


Both men instantly hit the deck and crouched down on all fours to steady the thing. Despite not speaking each others languages, it was clear the man expected the board to be much more stable than it turned out to be.


With the force of his entry shifting the paddle board away from the dock, the two were marooned on the unsteady plank. After much shimmying and repositioning, they worked in unison using fractured linguistic grunts and pointing and finally steadied the board. Mark cautiously paddled to keep it steady and the man on the front laid flat, hugging it like a life raft and clung to the sides, stunned with surprise that the big fat board wasn’t as steady as it appeared when Mark was paddling so smoothly in the bay all by himself.


Still not understanding each other’s words, they both seemed fluent in chaos management and quickly restored a precarious balance and forward motion. The fisherman became quite adept at steading the board by fixing himself into the “Table Top” yoga pose and kept his grip on the side of the board with whitened knuckles while directing Mark to his anchored boat using his elbow.


Mark paddled and the fisherman seized the sides of the SUP until they finally reached his little vessel. As they neared, Mark could tell the man was getting ready to make the wild leap to safety. This would have put them both in the water. So again, more fractured linguistics, steadying gestures and hand signals until Mark calmed him down enough to get the board alongside the fishing boat. Mark reached for the side of the vessel and hung on tightly so the man could exit Mark’s newfangled water taxi with the least amount of hazard.


The man couldn’t have been happier or more relieved to arrive at his boat dry and with his keys intact. And Mark was pretty happy he didn’t end up swimming with a clothed stranger and even more happy to ever-so-awkwardly help someone out.


As Mark paddled away the man called out, “Teşekkürler!”


And that Mark clearly understood.


You’re very welcome new friend. And so are your keys.

Sadly we didn’t get any photos of the actual fiasco, they were just too far away. But here’s Mark in his SUP water taxi on his way to another one of his morning jogs.


**also note that Mark is being a good boy and taking the trash out. You can see he’s got it strapped to the front of his taxi there. We may be living on a boat, but there’s still lots of the same chores to be done–they’re just slightly more complicated to do.


…though admittedly, the trash is more steady and less dramatic passenger!

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