The amber sun peeked its blazing head above the horizon, shimmering golden rays illuminating the vast sea in ultramarine. It beamed through the front bedroom window onto Riverport’s bearded face, flashing behind his closed eyes.
“Oh, that must be the mornin’ comin’ in.”
He snorted loud enough to wake himself up, peeling back the covers and slipping his bare feet into his favourite pair of slippers – white and bright blue stripes with a golden anchor print. He went over to the window and opened it slightly, letting the cool sea breeze inside.
“Ah, nothin’ like good ol’ sea salt. Speakin’ of which…”
Riverport headed downstairs to the kitchen, making himself a big sailor’s breakfast of smoked mackerel with bacon, fried eggs and buttered toast, washed down with a cup of tea to wake himself up.
Ready to take on the day, Riverport got kitted out into his captain’s outfit, a mainstay from his working days. He slipped on his black fisherman’s gumboots and naval hat, and he headed outside into the lovely seaside sunshine down to the harbour, greeting his fellow seafarers as he passed.
Riverport undocked his fishing boat from the pier, taking his place at the helm, and started the engine. While it warmed up, he checked his map of the region and plotted out his activities for the day.
“So I’ll go fishin’ first thing, then have a sail along the shore…”
Satisfied with his plans, Riverport began to steer his boat out of the harbour, taking great care not to bump into any of the other boats on the way out. Once he was safely in open waters, he sailed out towards the deeper ocean until the village was just a little grey fleck on the azure horizon.
Out at sea, the morning sun illuminated the waters with a shimmering sheet of sparkles. Riverport halted the engine and dropped the anchor, stepping out on deck.
“What wonderful weather for sailin’.” He shielded his eyes from the dazzling sunshine.
Just then, he remembered what he’d sailed all the way out here for, and he retrieved his fishing rod with bait from the cabin. He wound it all the way down into the water, and left it to its own devices while he kept a lookout from the stern, the calm waves bobbing the boat.
TWANG! The rod suddenly stiffened up.
“Ooh, got me a bite!”
Riverport rushed to the port side, eagerly reeling it in. Rather anticlimactically, it was a small sea trout.
“Eh, good catch. Gonna need a bigger net, though.”
He restarted the engine and unfurled his fishing net, draping it over the surface of the sea. As he chugged along, the net inflated like a water balloon filled with fish, crabs, lobsters and other miniature aquatic creatures. Riverport sailed onward until he reached a small forested cove, in the middle of which stood an old captain’s home.
“Some b’y lives here, eh?” Riverport cut the engine and anchored the boat again. He lowered the ramp and disembarked onto the stony shore, at which point a distinctly pirate-like figure broke out of the house, brandishing a cutlass.
“Ahoy! Who goes there?”
Riverport jumped in his boots, somewhat taken aback. “Whoa, b’y. Who’re ya? A pirate?”
“Ya even have to ask?” The figure whirled his sword about. “I AM a pirate! Arrrrr!”
The figure vaulted himself at Riverport, thrusting the tip of his sword towards his face. “I’m Oak Island, buccaneer and treasure-keeper of the high seas!”
“Oak Island, eh?” Riverport smiled. “My name’s Riverport. I’m a sea captain, long since retired, but I still do love to sail the beautiful ol’ briny. So, er… what’s this, er, ‘treasure’ you speak of?”
“Ah, the treasure? Well, it’s a closely guarded secret,” explained Oak Island. “So secret, and so closely guarded, that no one else in the world apart from me knows where it’s buried or what it is!” He paused, looking back at Riverport. “…Why’d ya come here, anyway? Were ya lookin’ fer it?”
Riverport glanced back at his boat, still leisurely bouncing upon the waves. “Oh, I was just out fishin’. But while I was trawlin’ the waters, I washed up here.”
“Ya know…” Oak Island began, “for all the fame and notoriety I’ve earned for my hidden stash of treasure, it sure is a lonely life bein’ a pirate. This is a pretty remote corner of the province.”
Then, an idea struck him. “Hey, could I come swashbucklin’ wi’ ya? I could do wi’ some company and adventure.”
Riverport mulled it over, stroking his bearded chin. “I’m an ol’ sea dog, me. Don’t get many visitors either. So I don’t see why you can’t or shouldn’t.”
“Ahoy we go!” Oak Island cheered, swinging his sword around as he and Riverport returned to the boat. Riverport drew the ramp and anchor back up, and he started the engine.
“Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for us…” Oak Island sang a sea shanty out on the deck, pirouetting with his sword.
Just before he set off, Riverport took another quick peek at his map. “Guess X didn’t mark the spot this time, eh?” he chuckled as he steered the boat away from the pebbled coast, on toward the open ocean once again.
With Riverport back at the helm, Oak Island stumbled upon some boxes stuffed up against the stern.
His eyes twinkling with exhilaration, he hastily slashed away at the boxes, only for his excitement to sour into disappointment when he found they only held some vintage nautical novelties that Riverport once decorated his house with.
“Ah…” He raised his spirits by wearing a small anchor on a rope like a necklace, his grin as bright as the silver.
Riverport hummed to himself as he navigated the cool Atlantic waters, his years of sailing experience steering the helm. The mewing of seagulls vying for his catch, the cresting of the waves and the salty scent of the sea graced his every sense, refreshing his mind and body.
Out of the ocean depths, a humpback whale breached the surface, puffing through its blowhole. “Oh, he must be sayin’ good mornin’ ta me. Ahoy, b’y!” Riverport saluted the whale with a tip of his cap, and it emitted another puff, as if in reply.
“Awesome! You talk to whales!” whooped Oak Island. Galvanized by Riverport’s prowess, he called out to the whale, turning on his pirate accent to full effect. “Arrrr, matey!”
The whale uttered a resounding holler, rippling the waters and juddering the boat slightly. “Guess he’s suspicious of pirates,” chuckled Riverport, drawing some smoke out of his pipe.
The whale dived back down to the dark seafloor, and slowly shot itself back up towards the sky, breaching again. The awesome spectacle captivated Riverport and Oak Island, some sea spray spritzing them as the whale smacked its huge blubbery body against the water. Back underwater, it vented another echoing holler.
“I’m one with the sea, ye see.” Riverport winked, taking another drag of his pipe.
He pulled a lever and released his net full of catch back into the water, giving the whale some much-needed food. It opened its enormous mouth to swallow all the fish and crustaceans whole, after which it gave a satisfied puff.
“Didn’t have much use fer all that, I’m retired anyway!” Riverport guffawed heartily. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw nothing on the horizon but the deep blue sea.
“This must be the furthest out into the ocean I’ve sailed in quite a long time,” he reasoned, then he took another peek at his map and tracker. “We’re twenty kilometres off the coast.”
“Twenty kilometres?” said Oak Island. “We really are out on the open sea. And the high seas are where a pirate feels most like a pirate!”
“And a salty sea captain, too,” puffed Riverport, before he sailed on a little further out.
However, despite it being just mid-morning, the only colour being blue for miles around was beginning to make Riverport feel sleepy.
“So… much… to… sea…” he drawled, his eyelids flitting.
With an almighty yawn, Riverport collapsed onto the deck, instantly falling asleep. Oak Island whipped around and quickly took over the helm from the snoring sea captain.
“I’ll sail this boat fer ya, Riverport!” He revved the engine up to the highest speed, tearing a long trail of wake through the ocean.