Ballycorona sits very nicely between the strip of water that lies to the west of Galway City wedged between the city and the Connemara Natural Park. This island is mostly forgotten by the world at large and for the most part the citizens of this small island are very happy about that. Their mayor, for want of a better title, especially so. It allows him the freedom to do what he wishes, and rule his kingdom his way.
On first meeting this auspicious gent, you would be forgiven for falling into his sugar coated promises and statements, as all about him appear to behave as one unit in their agreement with whatever he says and does. As you will learn, unluckily for me I remembered, eventually that the sweeter the person appears to be the more cautious and fearful you should be.
“Your sense of direction is dreadful,” Steve my husband of fifteen years told me. I nodded and agreed adding, “Perhaps it would have been better for you to take the lead on this outing.”
Silence greeted that statement. For a while the peaceful sound of our oars cutting through the petite waves was the only sound we could hear then a voice, deep and authoritative cut through our dilemma. “You must be lost. We haven’t seen anyone out this far in a curragh for many years.”
Steve did not hesitate with his reply, “It’s a kayak, don’t you know the difference?” He swivelled about in search of the speaker. But there was no one to see. More worrying still there was no boat.
“All I know is that you almost whacked me with that lump of a stick and interrupted our training night.”
Now we both raised our oars and let the boat drift as we looked into the water. Still nothing.
“Not down there you numpty up here.” He sounded exasperated.
We promptly raised our heads and looked above us. The guy on what we presumed was a para glider was easy to spot not because he should have been attending a slimming world class but because his para glider looked as though it had been made by a quilter. As though reading our minds he said, “No reason to worry, this is perfectly safe, I have this covered I have been doing this for years and know what is what.”
As he spoke he did a superb summersault worthy of a Russian gymnast and dived like a cormorant straight into the water beside us. Unlike the cormorant he did not reappear with a fish in his mouth. In fact for two whole minutes he did not reappear at all. Steve who had leant overboard and grabbed some of the lines coming off the colourful fabric parachute was tugging frantically at it and yelling at me to do the same.
I obliged and slowly we reeled him in. Grabbing him by the shoulders and legs we hauled him across the boat and checked for a pulse.
“He is breathing, I don’t know how, but he is lets head for shore” Steve shouted.
I looked around and discovered we were a hundred meters from land of some type. We headed for it balancing the guy in the space between us. It was easy to keep him there as it was a tight fit.
When we reached the rocky beach I was relieved to discover there were six men standing waist high waiting for us. With a nod at both of us they leant across the kayak and yanked him off it. We got out and followed them to see how he was doing. I was a little perturbed to hear their words of wisedom as we trudged after them.
“Spectacular dive.” The tallest man declared.
“His best yet” A burly grey haired man confirmed.
“How high was he this time?” A youngster asked.
“Oh all of twenty feet but he will add another hundred to it. You can bet your life on that when asked by the reporters for this weeks paper.”
“He usually comes around by now, my da will be all right won’t he?” The teenager, the youngest one in the group sounded anxious as he hovered about them.
“He will in a minute, give us some room Tommy, step back.”
With that the tallest two men in the group grabbed our failed hero; unzipped some of the dry suit, then as they held him by his boots dangled him upside down,
The whoosh of water was spectacular and the coughing of the guy in the suit was continuous. They simply looked at one another and dropped him to the ground where he dragged himself into an upward position and said, “Only for those two gobshites in the boat, I would have been fine.”
With a toss of their heads all agreed “it is time for a pint,” they left us to it.