My eyes opened slowly, while my brain tries to decipher the noise invading my senses. Eventually my brain caught up with the current events and I reach for my cell phone to silence it. It is 4am and today is the beginning of boating season. More importantly it is opening day of shrimp season. My daughter stirs when I open her door. I asked if she was awake and got no answer. A threat of turning on the light in the darken room draws a response. She is up. Since it was all I had been thinking about since going to bed, I ran down stairs and made sure to get the hot dogs in the cooler by the door. Didn't want breakfast to be left at home. With the first arm load of gear I head towards the shop where the lady there, waits impatiently. I open the door all the way up, making sure it does not slide down, even a little. Now the lady has a clear view. To my surprise, I see head lights coming down the road towards my house. My son most likely. Curious, I expected him to be late. Apparently he had not slept well either, excited to start the season. Second and last arm load of gear, was loaded as my daughter came out of the house. We are ready to go and it is early, thats never a bad thing. Tradition dictates we stop and get a drink at whatever establishment is open at that time of the morning. Never mind that there is a cooler on the ladies deck, full of liquid refreshment. As I pull away from the house, my mind goes through the check list posted there. Nothing I can think of has been forgotten. My daughter smiles and giggles as her brother turns to tickle her. She punches him as a "slug Bug" passes us in the opposite direction. I smile, it's good to have my son riding with us. We don't get to see him that often, even though he lives close by. I am sure her mother would frown, if she were here, as my daughter grabs a highly sugary drink from the shelf at the store. I should make her drink water or some orange juice. But I have grown soft and she has me wrapped around her finger. She is my last child and somehow that means something, and she knows it. My son pays for all of us. Sometimes I do, his turn I guess. Then it's time to head north. We meet several boats along the way. I pass them. Not much traffic this time of morning and I have plenty of room. The first major tow of the season is never easy. It feels strange. It's not comfortable. A few months from now, the truck and boat will be as one gliding smoothly along the asphalt, but for now I feel every pot hole and dip in the road. I spend too much time checking the tires on the trailer for smoke or sparks in the mirrors. It doesn't come because I have been working on the boat and trailer for the last several months. It is in great shape. When we get to the launch ramp, there is a line. No matter how early we left, someone would have beaten us there. They are excited to get the day rolling too. The straps are removed and boat is ready to launch quickly. Not all the crew is here yet, but we get the boat launched. Pushing the start button on each of the motors brings a quick start. The rumbling of the motors can be felt through the deck. They are so quiet. Away from the dock we go, but soon we are back, as the rest of the crew is here. My son's friend has brought his boss and another friend along. His fiancée has also come. As we put on life vests, he gives a safety talk. He points and talks, not unlike a flight attendant on a plane. Ditch bag is here, and extra life vests here. Fire extinguishers here, first aid kit here. A few things are missed and we cover those also. Now it's my turn for some fun. Throttles up! She jumps from the water and is on plane quickly. I love hearing the expressions of shock and joy as the speed winds up. My son tells everyone to hold on. The wind has some small white caps built up on the water. The sun hits the spray coming off the boat, and reflects in an explosion of rainbow colors. It is quickly coming back to me why we pay so much for this boat when it sets quietly for so long each winter. Opps! I missed some trimming of the motors I should have done. Throttles down a bit. Trim, now throttles back up. She winding up to the max and steady as a rock. I am calling out the speed, and it is fast! We are moving along at a fast clip and see the buoys to the Sub base up ahead. Time to throttle down. Don't want to show all that she can do just yet. The guard boats at the base watch as I come closer. They start moving to keep pace with me. I am close to the line. I hope the big American flag I have flying keeps the trigger fingers relaxed. Ok, it is time to bring up the throttles a bit. They keep up. We are now close to the next patrol boat, so the first boat throttles down and allows the second boat to take over. As this transition takes place I throttle up again. Still they keep up. All the way up now. I tell the crew to keep still, "don't move!" Then as the end of the control area looms near, I call over the radio, thanking "them" for the job they do and we all wave. I am glad they are there. The wind changes and soaks one of the new members of the crew as we turn around the point. He is getting soaked and does not say a word. He is just sitting there with a great big smile on his face and a cup of coffee in his hand! Soon we are cooking hot dogs on the bar-b-q. We arrived to our shrimping spot a while ago. Only one boat comes by this year for hot dogs. We have had several in times past. With some food in their bellies, my son and daughter start tickling each other, and in general, having fun! Time to drop the pots will be here soon. Everybody pitches in with getting the pots ready, and putting away the food. Noses are wrinkled up as the bait is removed from the cooler. It stinks, and is unpleasant. Shrimping is good this year and we have a lot as the Fish and Game boat comes by for a chat. My daughter and son are pulling up a pot. We do it by hand, not with an electric or gas puller like others. The warden comments that with all the money we spent on the paint job on my boat, we could have bought a powered puller. My son comments back, that with all the money we paid for our licenses, they should have a better paint job on their boat. We show four limits of shrimp, bagged and on ice, and a few still waiting to be bagged. He is happy with what he sees and does not ask to board the boat to look further. Its a good day with friends and family. Even some new friends are made. People I did not know at the beginning of the day are shaking my hand. They had a great time. They will be eating fresh shrimp and remember the day we had on the water. We all wave good bye and head home. My daughter curls up in the back seat and goes to sleep. My son gets sleepy but struggles to stay awake. As I lay my head down that night, I smile from the full belly of shrimp and a new flood of memories that I will have for the rest of my life! The last thing I remember before falling asleep that night, is the sun coming over the hill and hitting the water and the deep throaty sound of the twins when they are throttled up!