Takara Island rose from the sea like a rough, emerald gem. It was green and verdant with brown gullies cut into the sides—very beautiful and tranquil.
"Oo! Look!" squealed Al, her face alight with glee.
Just to the right of us (or is that starboard) a shoal of fish broke the water's surface like a school of dolphins, leaping out of the water in graceful arcs. Each one was about half a meter long and fantastically coloured in the blues and greens of peacock feathers, each scale dotted with a golden eye. Their bodies were beautifully streamlined but in place of pectoral fins, they had paws, almost invisible they were tucked so neatly against their slick bodies. A fantastical dorsal fin ran down the back, the rays of which were shimmering deep blue and fanned with emerald-gold skin between them. They were amazing! And just like dolphins, they chose to run along side us, as curious about us as we were about them.
Sadly, Traeth wasn't as impressed. When the creatures appeared, he went into hysterics. Terror filled his eyes and he screamed in sheer fear. He began to flail about in the boat, his arms thrashing wildly around.
"For crying our loud!" shouted Rutter, desperately trying to steady the vessel. Traeth attempted to stand up, unbalancing the vessel badly. It rolled heavily to one side, which sent him into an even higher state of panic. "We're going to capsize!" screamed Rutter anxiously.
Traeth fell and the boat lurched deeply the other way. Desperately trying to clamber to his feet again and again, he fought off our every attempt to settle him. The boat careened furiously from side to side, each roll more exaggerated than the last.
We fought him to the bottom of the boat once more and I straddled his body trying to hold his legs down while Al tried to use her body to hold his torso still, but our struggle caused the boat to continue to loll from one side to the other. Water sloshed over the sides, soaking us all. A fish, caught in the mayhem, leapt into the little craft with us. It flapped about in the bottom of the boat by Traeth's face, sending him into a state beyond hysterics. He was uncontrollable, flailing and screaming and fighting against us.
"Jeese, Al!" screamed Rutter. "Do something before we capsize!"
"Yes, sir!" she shouted back cheerily, somehow managing to throw a salute at the same time. She rose above Traeth and thrust her hand down onto his neck. She found the pressure point she wanted with ease and expertly silenced Traeth. The moment his body fell limp, she released her grip, flipped him over onto his chest, secured his hands behind his back and sat on him. His face, she turned to one side and tilted to make sure his airway was clear, was deathly white.
"Thank you," muttered Rutter as the boat settled again into its sedate passage.
"Bloody hell, Al!" I exclaimed. "I think you've killed him!"
A faint moan from his lips proved otherwise.
"Not at all," she quipped. "I merely applied enough pressure for him to loose consciousness. He'll be awake soon."
"And then what?"
"Then I sit we him until we reach land." She then signalled me with her hand. "Would you mind sorting that fish out and then you can secure his legs for me."
Obediently, I did as I was bid. The fish had grown weak from its own struggles, so I held it gently in the water so that the sea would swill through its gills. I felt it revive, its muscles tightening so I let it go, and it darted off into the mêlée of the shoal, re-assimilating itself into the group. I settled near Traeth's legs as directed. He had begun to sob.
"It's okay, buddie," I soothed. "You just lie there and close your eyes. Pretend you're sunbathing in the garden or something."