What good is a once-in-a-lifetime trip without bridge?

So here we were on a Discover Southeast Alaska cruise. In weather warm and sunny when it’s usually cold and drizzly, we cruised past fjords, snow-capped mountains and bald eagles catching salmon. Over the first 24 hours we enjoyed a rare orca sighting and saw humpback whales, sea lions, seals, bears, mountain goats, and everyone’s favorites, sea otters on their backs using their stomachs as dining room tables. In short, we’d seen everything we came for.

“Let’s go home,” I said. That didn’t go over well with my wife and wouldn’t have thrilled the captain who already had us out in the middle of nowhere.

I expect there’s nowhere on Earth, or probably the cosmos, where you can’t find a bridge game. On vacation, with all the strictures of society loosened, it only made sense to find some really weird deals. On this one, I was sitting West, with South dealing and no one vulnerable. The star of the show was the South-sitting Roberta Allen, a retired high-school English teacher from Georgia.

The cards are re-created from memory, unfortunately too vivid:

                          ♠️ A 9 7 5 4 3
                          ♥️ 4 3 2
                          ♦️ A 7 3
                          ♣️ 9

WEST                                              EAST
♠️ K 8                                           ♠️ Q J 10 6 2
♥️ A K Q 8 6 5                             ♥️ J 10 9 7
♦️ 8                                              ♦️ 2
♣️ A 4 3 2                                    ♣️ Q 6 5

                        ♠️ —
                        ♥️ —
                        ♦️ K Q J 10 9 6 5 4
                        ♣️ K J 10 8 7

The bidding proceeded as follows:

South         West         North         East
3♦️            3♥️         4♦️           4♥️
5♦️            5♥️         Pass           Pass
6♦️            DBL        All Pass

Opening lead: ♥️A

Allen might have opened 1♦️, but she wisely realized East-West probably had a fit in hearts or spades or maybe both. With eight diamonds, she could have opened 4♦️, but the auction probably would have played out as it did, just starting at a higher level.

Two-suited hands appear maybe every three years, and you’d better take advantage of them.

“I wouldn’t have bid so aggressively if I’d had a heart or spade, and I liked my spot cards,” she said. With two aces and three diamonds, her partner Regina Johnson wisely raised diamonds; and they were off to the races. I ignored the bridge wisdom about letting the five level belong to the opponents, but can you blame me for doubling with two aces of my own?

You’ll note that I haven’t described the play of  the hand. This was supposed to be a happy vacation.
Allen ruffed the opening lead, cashed the ♦️K and led a low club to the queen. East returned the ♠️Q that was ruffed, and Allen proffered the ♣️J, covered by the ace and ruffed. With her nice club spots, she claimed.

“People usually pre-empt expecting to go down,” I said, bleating like a rabbit that’s just been caught by a coyote.

We got in an inflatable, motorized boat and saw a mink and a bear with cubs on the shore.

“Let’s go home,” I said.