I found a baby gecko onboard today. I named her Beebee, after my cousin. She is brown. She is smaller than my pinky. She hides inside a wooden ledge above my nav station. I think she’s been with me since Tahiti.
The waves went to sleep. Rain and rainbows come and go. The sun glints and glitters between cloud- covered skies. There are noodies and red footed boobies soaring up above.
We lay in pink sands. We plant coral into underwater nooks. We machete fresh coconuts and gulp the juice. We watch a wrasse, with pink zig-zags on it’s head, swim around a piece of purple stone. If I was a fish, I would be a wrasse with the funkiest colors and patterns this ocean has ever seen.
Everyday we hitchhike with the fisherman. They smoke bon bon (weed) and listen to Tupac and drive their boats fast into the swell. The journey is full of bumps and splashes. They take us to a decaying old pearl farm where we observe fish eating parasites off of a manta ray’s wings. They take us to the pass to drift and film them spearfishing. They take us to the main village to get food supplies.
The main village is called Tuherahera and it is 6 NM away, on a motu southeast of our anchorage. The supply ship comes every Tuesday from Tahiti and the grocery shops, which look like dusty bodegas, are all barren of greens and fruits by noon on Wednesday. The town has a small road and there are cars and people piled like sunshine on top of bicycles. Coconuts, hibiscus, bougainvillea, and breadfruit trees grow out of the earth in the village. It smells like springtime all around.
We wait in the village for many hours. The rain must pass and the fisherman must sell their fish. I walk the whole motu. I run into the same people again and again. I sit at the wharf and turn an empty fuel barrel into a drum. I bang Haitian drum patterns on it until my hands go numb. Afterwards a man says, “You could use some practice.” I thank him for his honesty.
Back on Juniper, there is a constant teeter totter. The wind whips and rushes. We get another big blow and my bridle snaps again. Another neighbor, Brad from Oregan, lends me some dynema and I make yet another bridle. Dynema is strong. You can lift a car with it. For sure it won’t break, but it has no give, no play, no stretch, and I worry about it ripping my samson post right out the deck. Brad and his wife have been anchored in the lagoon for years, he says he’s seen the winds here do a lot of damage to boats. He reminds me that one must never underestimate the power of the wind, no matter where they are.
Brianna and I showered for the first time in eight days. We are in seawater and rain enough not to care. It was the length of our leg hairs that finally made us succumb to soap and fresh water. We scrubbed the decks and cabin too. Everything smells like gardenias now.
We are ready to set sail tomorrow. The long rest has done us right and I have stuffed my belly good. Of course I’m nervous to go. I’m always nervous to go. I think I’m nervous to do just about everything. It’s impossible to know, in advance, the treasures and traps that rest before me in the open water.
May the winds be kind, may the swell be kind, may the clouds be the kinder. And may the sun follow and chase away the rain wherever we shall go.