Dunga had resurfaced for the third time. He held the side of the canoe and the bucket of sand was hauled up by Didier inside the canoe. Dunga took deep breaths. He heaved lightly. He wiped the water from his face. He blew bubbles from his mouth as he exhaled. His upper torso was well chiseled. The bucket was emptied and handed back to Dunga. Dunga took a last breath, upturned the bucket and let himself into the sea with the bucket that was attached to a rope. Dunga dived down to the bottom of the river – about 20 feet deep. He scooped sand from the seabed and filled the bucket and started the upward maneuver. The current was dragging the boat. After about fifty seconds Dunga resurfaced, wiped his face, took some deep breaths of air while Didier pulled the bucket up and emptied the sand into the canoe. The cycle repeated itself.
Each time the bucket of sand was tipped into the canoe, the posterior of the canoe, dipped and inched more into the sea. Dunga’s team mates resurfaced and poured some more fine sand into the canoe. When the back end of the canoe was fully loaded, the paddle men set out to the shore. They paddled the canoe in unison. It was a tortuously slow process. The paddling took every ounce of energy from them. They paddled with a smile. They were topless. Their bodies glistened in the hot sun making them look like sculpted pieces. They rowed the canoe in silence. You could only hear the sound of the oars gliding its way in the water.