Book 2 Chapter 154

Friday morning was another early morning breakfast with the Emir Bello. The Secret Service brought him to White House at 0600. I was sitting at my desk in the Oval Office discussing the Saudi agreement with General Ingram.
An advance team from the Air Force would arrive in a few days from our airbase in Ad Dammam. At one look the map at the base at Ad Dammam made one question the necessity of adding another base in the area. But to have armor and infantry so close to Iran made a lot of sense. Plus to be able to land thousands of troops in C17s and C5s that close was an ace in the hole for operations – if and when it came to that.
I closed my folders, placed them in the pile on my desk and walked the Emir Bello back to the map room. On the wall was a map of Africa that had all the publicly known US bases in Africa marked. The secret were missing as were the ones that were conditional use or temporary.
The reasoning for this direction was to gain another Doppler radar site and listening post in the eastern central Africa to close a gap. If our sales pitch was successful, it would complete the circle to give the DOD total surveillance of the entire Atlantic Ocean from the Arctic to the Antarctica.
The Doppler radar system coupled with submerged ocean listening buoys would box in the Russians in the Atlantic – in the air, on the sea and underwater. If they moved, we would know it. It was the same thing they were trying to do to the US with Cuba, Venezuela and in the Arctic Ocean.
It was lunch when we finished – not only had I negotiated for the Doppler radar but the deep water port of Lagos was now approved as a port of call for the US Navy and for Naval support services when necessary. The International Airport was now open for Air Force transport planes – that was normally always a touchy subject with many countries.
Lunch was a state dinner, the last for Emir Bello with invited guests. After lunch there was a news conference and then the Emir was flying home. He had arrived on a commercial flight but was going to be carried back on a private flight.
I offered to have one of the Air Force executive jets but he was afraid that it would create political problems. One of the JBG business jets was arriving at Andrews to make the flight to Nigeria. It was one more conflict of interest in the eyes of some. The Emir and his group were happy and thankful.
The week was gone and there were so many thing I had put on the back burner, so many meetings I put off by being in Europe and then devoting so much time working on Nigeria contracts.
I was going home for the weekend. The rock fish – the Maryland State fish – also known as the striped bass were making their early run in the bay. Marine One had us on the island in thirty minutes.
The new family fishing boat that we had designed and had built at a Baltimore boat yard was picked up by Dad, Jason and Jake while we were in Europe.
It was bigger than most party boats that worked out of the commercial dock at the narrows. A party boat took dozens of fishermen and fishing parties for a daily fee. The commercial captains used a variety of tools to follow the schools of fish and the hot spots to keep customers happy and coming back.
Our boat was seventy feet long and sixteen feet wide. It had an enclosed half cabin with a full potty. It wouldn’t look very good for us to hang our butt off the side and take a leak – easy for men, not so much for us. There were three small beds to rest on and for the kids to nap on forward. There were two small refrigerators, a small stove, a beer cooler and a table for meals.
The top bow section of the cabin was flat with all kinds of railings so we could sunbath it on if we wanted. It had built in bait boxes in the back with rod pipes across the stern and down the port and starboard sides.
With twin seven hundred horsepower Cats to push it thirty knots, radar and an enclosed cockpit, it was an all-weather family boat.
We had the channel dredged behind the house and a dock built for it last year after we ordered it. We had steel sheeting driven along our property and around the pond that was at the end and our neighbor’s property to end the erosion requiring it to be dredged every few years.
There was no more waiting at the boat launch in line on good fishing days. Jason, Dad, Jake and we could just throw the lines, start the engines and go. No more excuses not to go fishing or out on the bay just for a relaxing pleasure cruise.
Dad, Jake and Jason had done the outfitting after it was docked behind the house with life jackets, floatable devices, two inflatable life boats, flares, beer, rods and supplies. Friday night they brought more beer and coolers, ice, and snacks. They also brought the boat licenses and all the required papers to keep us legal.
I told the senior agent at 2200 that we were going fishing tomorrow morning at 0500; I didn’t want them to have too much time to complain. I also told the chef I wanted breakfast sandwiches ready to go at 0500 and gave him a list for cold subs for lunch.
At 0515 the engines were running and warming up as we climbed aboard. We had us six girls and two boys with Dad, Jason, Jake, Mindy, six agents, Ziva and Abra plus the two White House photographers and the two with the suitcase. It took twenty minutes to run the creek to get into the waters of the bay.
In the bay, Jason headed south down the bay. The marine radio traffic from the commercial guys were saying the hot spot was off Cambridge and was producing a lot of fish today.
It was thirty miles – an hour’s run in this boat – as Jason pushed the engines to full throttle.
Just past St Michaels Jason pulled the throttles back and headed to the south west.
”There is a hole in about a mile that is usually good when the fish are moving north. The commercial guys save it for when nothing else works for their paying customers,” Jason said as he slowed more and turned on the fish finders and fine tuned the depth finder to its most sensitive settings.
The rest of us followed Dad’s lead and began cutting bait and rigging hooks on the boat rods. The engines went to idle and the transmission disengaged.
”We are going to drift over the spot – lines in the water,” Jason said.
A few minutes later the first fish was brought aboard. Maryland required that in order to keep them, they had to be between twenty eight and thirty eight inches or over forty four with a limit of two fish each. The first fish was pulled in by an agent and measured fifty inches – a whopper!
Jenny helped RJ and I worked with JJ – there was no way they could do it by themselves – but with extra hands on the rod to help, they could enjoy the thrill.
The first drift across the hole produced twenty fish that met the rules. Ten more had to be thrown back. The second drift produced fifteen with five thrown back.
RJ hooked a whopper and with Jenny’s help landed a forty six inch rock fish; much taller than and as heavy as he was. A few minutes JJ had his big fish; nearly as big but lacking only half an inch.
It took four drifts over the hole and moving to follow the school before we had the limit. Everyone had their two fish limit – family, agents, photographers and the ball carriers – including me with one forty six and one forty eight.
Make no mistake, reeling in big fish is work – real work – plus keeping the lines from getting tangled with other ones on the boat. With the rods and hooks secured it was time for the food we had brought and of course a beer.
We headed back to the narrows as a leisurely clip of ten knots. Eating, talking and having a good time – the subs we had from the kitchen were just right. Jason and Dad were both on the bridge piloting the course.
We were within sight of Kent Point – the most southern tip of Kent Island – when a when a Coast Guard MR-B medium response boat that was headed south at good speed made a turn and powered up to fall in behind us and turning on the lights and siren.
Jason was cussing under his breath, ”First fishing trip on the bay and the Coast Guard shows for an inspection.”
The Secret Service agents shuffled me into the cabin as we slowed to a stop and began drifting with the tide. They pulled the MR-B alongside and cast it a line since we were the bigger of the two boats.
They checked the boat paperwork, the licenses to make sure Jason had a captain license to be able pilot a boat with all the people aboard and the boat fishing licenses. Then they checked all the safety equipment and the condition of all the life preservers and their expiration dates, the fire extinguishers, and the flares. Yes, they still required a flare gun and a throwable flotation device.
They wanted to see the engine room to inspect for oil or fuel leaks that could foul the bay. They could write citations if they found any and depending on the severity, it could be a serious fine.
The access to the engine room was a hatch near the cabin. After inspecting the engine room the inspecting officer opened the door to the cabin, looked around and closed the door. I was sitting at the table facing the officer. He nodded and went about his task.
They gave Jason an inspection sticker to place in the window, tossed the line and left. It was supposed to prevent you from being stopped and inspected again unless there was obvious trouble. It was so small another boat was unlikely see it until after they had cast the line to you. Once that happened you were going to get inspected again no matter what.
We had a good laugh about it as they pulled away. They would get a good ass chewing on Monday. First, for not telling their superiors they had stopped and inspected the President’s boat with her on board. Then for not recognizing the President and saluting – the Coast Guard had the same rules as the Navy.
Their bosses would find out in a few hours as soon as the media filed the reports about today’s clandestine fishing trip. The Coast Guard inspection was sure to make the news cast.
The media would demand a copy of the inspection report from the brass to see if any favors or shortcuts had been extended.
We continued on to the commercial dock to get fuel while the fish were cleaned. We could do it ourselves but why bother for a few dollars. Besides, the waste would be used for bait or ground up in chum; another form of bait for shark fishing.
Back at the house it was resting time. The boys conked out on the couch as soon as they were on it. Salt air and fishing will do that to you.
While the girls were showering, the Secret Service agents gave me today’s agency top secret reports.
The first one on top today was on Russia; it was twenty pages long. China was a runner up with ten pages and then the rest.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.

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