I’m anchored off of Namotu Island. It’s five acres of sand in the shape of an avocado with bures (wood and straw huts) and boats and surfboards and baby turtles. The bottle blue surf of Swimming Pools breaks all over it. It’s a surfer’s slice of paradise.
There are waves but I’m too weak to surf. I can still taste the sickness on my tongue. I feel good, then bad, then better, then worse. My energy is low and slow. I’m waiting for the power of the flower to kick the scuzz out of my head cave. If I was a wave I would be receding so far that you could feel my surge from wherever you are.
About all I can do right now is read Mark Twain, or play chess, or get in the water and hang onto the ladder and watch the black and white fish feed off the green beard growing on the bottom of the boat. Sometimes two of the fish come right up to my face. They kiss my goggles. I kiss their kiss. I wonder what they see in me. Don’t they know I’m human and I won’t do their ecosystem any good?
I’m not on my boat. Sun and rain and Juniper make mushrooms and mushrooms don’t mix well with my blood. I’ve spent the past week picking the mushrooms and giving half of my belongings away. I don’t know why. It feels good. Like I’m a snake shedding my old milk skin. Like next week I’m gonna be something brand spanking new and smooth to touch.
I’m not on my boat also because I’m still waiting on the transmission to get cranked back in. It’s all fixed and ready and waiting for time. Fiji time is its own kind of time. If you look at it too quick you’d think it was sitting still. Fiji time is the kind of time that doesn’t like clocks or days or months, and forget years, but it always knows when lunch is ready to be eaten.
So Juniper is still tied up over by Fat Bob and Boss on the Armstrong dock and I escaped to this slice on SeaGlub with Chris. Since it’s just us gals, I’ll tell you a secret, but you have to promise to keep your lips sealed. Promise?
Ok so remember Pluto, that boobie that has been following me across the Pacific Ocean with his feathers and fish guts? Last time he landed aboard I kissed him and he turned into this man named Chris.
I don’t know how much witches brew I’d have to drink to make that statement true. The truth is that Chris and I met when he caught my dock lines the first day I sailed into Denerau. I have my anchor to thank for this. Remember when I couldn’t get it to sink and set in the slippery slick of mud outside the marina and was forced to radio in for a slip? Back then, that‘s when we begin. Seven islands before that, I met him in a dream. Seven islands after that, he flew with me to Arkansas. The big things in my life always happen like that. At first in dreams.
Where do you go in your sleep? Somewhere far away? Do you have iridescent wings? Do you fly? I live in a far away place, so when I sleep I’m always traveling somewhere nearby.
Anyway, maybe Chris is my crystal voyager and maybe he’s not, but that don’t matter none to this moment right here. In this moment right here we’re in the cockpit listening to Outlaw Country on the radio. Johnny Knoxville and his cousin are playing tunes and yapping.
One of them says, “Every time you hear an insect make noise it’s either having sex or asking for sex.” I never thought about it like that. You know what I bet? I bet sometimes an insect makes noise because it fell for a flower, or because it smells rain, or because it’s worshipping the moon. Everything worships the moon; waves, women, wolves. Owoooooooo.
The sun is still high and there’s a strange kind of thunder reverberating from ocean to sky, but there’s not a drop of moisture falling down. Chris says, “What’s that sound? It’s like thunder, but there aren’t any clouds.”
We are both looking up and down and around and I say, “It kind of sounds like a thin sheet of metal vibrating or like somebody playing the musical saw in a bad way.”
The sound keeps going. I put my ear next to everything onboard; speakers, the deck, the wind scoop. It sounds damp and distant and like it’s coming up from under us. Like ocean thunder.
I say, “I can’t figure it out, I think it’s the wind scoop.”
Chris puts his hand on the wind scoop, “It’s not the wind scoop. It sounds like explosions from a war on land. I used to live near Camp Pendleton and this sounds like that place.”
At some point the ocean-thunder-war-wind-scoop-musical-saw stops. The moon flies up. We lay down. We get the news; an underwater volcano has erupted near Tonga.
What we were hearing, from 500 nautical miles away, was it’s sonic booms. The eruption was so potent that my friends in the Tuamotus of French Polynesia could hear them too.
The news said that the volcano was tossing a tsunami our way. I fall asleep floating on the shock and the waves. And I wake up grateful that the tsunami came to the shores of Fiji, but never touched us.