I am water camping. In a salt desert. Rich in fish and sharks. It is moon faced and next to nowhere. I drink drops of rain. My power is the sun, and the sun is a speckled sun.
I’m living the slow life. I wear only a loincloth aboard Juniper. I wash my clothes with saltwater and soap. I bathe my body with buckets.
Hard-pressed to find anything, I beg dive boats to bring me fresh fruit and vegetables from the north. Then I barter eggplants for a new razor and limes for toilet paper among my floating neighbors.
I have a permanent mark above my eyes from my snorkeling mask. I spend most of my time beneath the surface. I float and dive the southern pass until all warmth seeps and I can no longer feel my hands.
I could stare at the sea creatures here for the rest of my life. They are hypnotic. The colors. The shapes. The patterned unison movements.
I receive a message from my mom. It says, with this exact number of exclamation marks, “Be extremely careful with sharks as they are not goldfish!!!!! They have lots of teeth!!!!” I can’t stop laughing over it.
Today a little girl asks me, “Do you think it would be better to live forever and if so, give me three reasons why? I said, “No, we must die so that we can become one with everything or live all over again in new skin. But, if nothing could kill us and we could live forever; We could live without fear and we could breathe underwater if we felt like it.” The little girl says, “And we could stop the world from making the same mistakes.”
I meet a heavy metal rockstar from the motu in front of Juniper. His name is Aroma. He is tattooed from toe to top and he’s been all around the world. We have a pizza party. We philosophize all night. I am intrigued by the dichotomy of him; the violent nature of his music next to the violet light of his heart. He tells me that there is a French saying along the lines of; There is no pleasure if you have pleasure all the time.
That’s why we suffer sometimes.
I have made many friends here. Next to me, there is a family from Santa Barbara on a boat called Wilderness. And a French family on a blue catamaran. They have twin teenagers and an 20 year old son. We go spearfishing. We catch parrots and unicorns. When you spear a fish here, you have to stick it above the water and swim fast back to the dinghy. Otherwise you’re one fat piece of bait and the sharks will steal you and your dinner.
The twins gut a parrot and give it to me. I hold it as you would anything sacred. One of the twins says, “I think that you won’t eat it because you find it too beautiful.”
It’s scales are blue confetti flying as I fillet it. I toss the rest overboard and watch as twenty sharks fight for it. Everything is getting fat on fish around here.
Some nights we feast together. We eat fresh-caught fried unicorn and it chews like bubble gum. While dance beneath disco lights to Tahitian remixes, I tell them that I feel like I’m constantly repairing things on Juniper and they say “Yes, its a boat, we are too.” I say but when I cross the ocean everything gets wet. They say, “Oh yes. Us too. We have buckets of water leaking in sometimes.” I feel better being around other beings who are obsessed with this life at sea, like me.
I row home in the dead of night with 100 blind and hungry sharks trailing behind me and Daisy. I smell like fish and they are in a fury to eat me, I just know it.
I fall asleep, dreamless, in my fish gut stained dress.