The new moon is here or near to here and the tide all around the motus is lower than low. We walk from one to the other along the break. The coral sounds like glass beneath my feet. The shallow pools of water distort the coral beneath me and at the same time reflect the sky above. Everything feels like the trip of a drug.
At the edge of the water there is soft and squishy sand that sinks like mud. It eats my legs, but I like the feeling. Hidden creatures are exposed. A boy in Teahupo’o taught me that if I sing songs to the hermit crabs, they will pop out of their shells. I pick one up, I name her Clementine. I sing her a song. She slides out of her shell, her claws reach for my face. I love her. She either loves me too and want to kiss me, or hates my singing and wants to pinch my cheeks until I stop….I can’t tell which. The differentiation between love and hate has always been confusing for me. I think they both bloom from the same passionate place, but they grow in opposite directions.
The shallow pools of water distort the coral beneath me and at the same time reflect the sky above me. Everything feels like the trip of a drug.
Brianna and I are with our friend Tepu. He is from Tahiti Iti and grew up surfing Teahupoo. In fact, his uncle was the first person to ever surf that fabled wave. He feels like a legend, even more so because he keeps bees and makes smooth honey that we eat by the spoonful. I want to shove the whole golden honeycomb into my mouth, but it’s 200 nautical miles away.
The three of us collect shells to make jewelry and pickup plastic to preserve the jewels of the earth. There is so much plastic everywhere, I find sunglasses, cd cases, fishing nets, water jugs, etc.
When it comes to shells, Tepu finds the best. He has a whole lot of purple sea urchin spikes in his hands. Brianna and I are looking at the same ground that he is, but have never noticed them before. We want to collect them too, but for a long time our eyes can’t even find them. It’s strange how you don’t see something unless you know to look for it, and sometimes even then, you can’t find it.
The more plastic that we pickup, the more brilliant and perfect the shells that we find become. That’s the direct feedback loop of the earth. Give and it will give. Love and it will love. Celebrate and it will celebrate.
Our friends hosted a goodbye dinner for us on their boat. The boats name is Jah and it feels like that movie Water World; everything on it was found and repurposed. There is a rain catcher made from plastic bottles, storage netting made from lost commercial fishing gear, the floor is crafted from found wood and a used sarong, and everything is spray painted green and gold and red. Tahitian RASTAFARIANS, to the extreme.
We ate fish and salad and curry and homemade cookies. We drank rum then wine then beer. What were we thinking? Not about tomorrow or our heads.
Now it is that tomorrow….
I wake up at 5 a.m. I say a long prayer. By 6 a.m, the anchor is up and we were heading out of the pass. The tide is exiting the lagoon and the water is turbulent at the mouth of it. It is moving this way and that way and the other way. All the ways are colliding into each other, and splashing into swirls. The collision of all forces in opposition seem to create turbulence, except for something like magnets, of course. Magnets live for opposing force. Aren’t magnets nifty?
I want to be magnetic. What if random objects just started sticking to me and you would try to peel them off, but you couldn’t because my force was too strong. And soon I would become a massive walking collection of random trinkets and junk piled on more junk with a face smashed between. And I would clank when I walked and you could play me like an instrument. But in time I would get too big to walk, and some museum would put me on display as an interactive exhibit and I would lay there in a cloud white room and people would come to see what they could get stuck to me. I would die there in that museum as a piece of living art. Move over Bas Jan Ader or Adler (can’t remember which)… he died trying to sail a 13 ft. boat across the Atlantic as an art performance. Before that, he would hang from tree branches until they broke and the mere act of him falling was art. I’m going to start calling it art every time I fall.
Anyway, Juniper and I are most definitely magnets for seawater. All it wants is to stick to us wherever we go, and we to it. But sometimes our relationship is too wet and I get soggy, so I must leave the water in order to dry out.
I am back out here now, all wet and wild. And though it has only been a week, I have missed it. I have truly, truly missed it. “You don’t miss your water until your well runs dry,” (To be sung in your head all twangy, the way The Byrd’s sing it on their album Sweetheart Of The Rodeo.)
So here we are, out here. We are seeing up to 20 knots and sailing a close reach. We’ve got a knot of current pushing against us as we bounce up and down into the swell. The sun is out and I am covered in moving rainbows.
We are sailing on Juniper’s bad side. She is a real hog on a port tack that is 60 degrees or above. I don’t know why that is. Everything has a good side and a bad side, doesn’t it? Anywho, I’ve got all her flags flying, but 5 knots is the most she can do. Our next tack will be good and fast. Starboard is where my baby shines.
Brianna bought us matching maroon hats that say “Tahitian Pirates” we look like a real sailing team out here and that we are. She teaches me to say “Honey, take me to seventh heaven,” in French. She learned it to whisper into a man’s ear; me, I learned it to whisper into the sea’s ear.
Red footed boobies are following Juniper, soaring between the sails, getting lifted on the wind of our updraft. Seeing them makes me miss my boobie buddy, Pluto, from the North Pacific. I am crying real tears thinking about him right now. I never would have made it across the ocean without him landing on Juniper and staying with me through all the tough times. He was my only friend out there. I told him all of my secrets too, and he would listen for hours on end and poop fish guts everywhere while I blabbed away. How on earth, could I ever repay him?
Ever since then, boobies are my protectors at sea, I know we are gonna make it to Ahe now! Yeehaw kitty cats, here we come.