My sister left Fiji after we rolled in mud like pigs and visited a Hindu temple where we stared at murals of a four-faced creator. Now I’m delirious.
The purity of the sky’s wilderness has been eclipsed by rainstorms and the hot red sunrise can’t find it’s way through these dragon clouds. I’m dog tired and life feels so murderous that I’m trying not to think about anything too deep.
I want to numb myself out. I want to light the bugs up and smoke the afterglow. Pa-pop-pop. I want to pink moon jellyfish myself into saltwater and wait for them sea turtles to eat me. Yes, I want to be boneless and I also want to cut off my head and grow a passion flower out of my neck. And I want a dose of medicine so powerful that I fire-fly.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking; your life is a sailboat on a permanent tropical vacation, what on earth could be getting your goose? I’ll tell you what’s getting my goose, you have to blow air onto a fire to keep it going and I am running out of air and without air there is no alchemy. Silver, gold, mercury, copper, lead, iron, tin.
I’m being genuine with you. I’m being as genuine as an uncut gem. So much of my galaxy has dissolved over the last seven days that I don’t know how I will wet my whistle without a starship and I fear that I will be left with an unquenchable thirst for the sea. Shall I write you a list of the events that have occurred this week? Here is the list in no particular order:
Number 1– My littlest gecko, Tulip, has committed suicide by jumping overboard. She jumped right into the drink and a fish ate her before I could save her. Imagine dying like that? In a fish tomb! I suppose being eaten is better than drowning. Rest in Peace Tulip. To the fish, to the bubbles, to the fish.
Number 2- My sailboat is being liquified by rain. Rainwater is pouring in from every monkey. The bilge is pregnant with a dark water lake. The cabin walls are waterfalls. The berths are rivers. Everything is fizzing and soaking and venomous. The electronics are frying, the wood is rotten milk, and I have to wear a bathing suit to bed. I don’t know if I can take this boat across any more oceans, and I can’t in good conscious sell her to anybody. Juniper has been my home for over 10,000 Nautical miles and she used to be my air, but now she feels like an anchor. I have spent several evenings contemplating how to sink her.
Number 3- I’ve been in Denarau for 13 days trying to fix Juniper. She has been touched and twerked and fiddled and scraped and glued; from lights to throttle cable to batteries to wood to fresh water pump. The names of the men who have climbed aboard to help are; Twoks, Gabby, Reyes, Krishna, Kitty, and two guys from Fiji Princess whose names I can’t for the life of me remember.
They talk like this;
Man inside the boat says, “Bro. Bro. Bro. Stop. It’s leaking.”
Man on deck with a hose in the hand asks, “A drip drip or a lot lot?”
Man inside boat, “At first a drip drip, now a lot lot. Oh this is bad!”
Man with hose, “The more you dig, the more problems you get!”
I found a hole so big in the hull-to-deck joint that you could fit a hand through it and I found many, many, many small pinprick holes of sun that drip-drop the water in.
Anyway, the main lesson I have learned from all of this is that “tuki” means “hammer.”
Number 4- I want to complete a circumnavigation and Chris wants to sell his boat and live on land. It might be a stalemate. I don’t know what love is or what it looks like. Do you? If you do, maybe you can tell me what color and shape it is. I thought it was a rainbow in the shape of water, but I might be wrong. I’m always wrong.
Number 5– As a result of all of this I’ve decided that the tropics is where the good things go to die and the bad things go to thrive. Just look at a wound, you can lick it all you want, but it won’t ever heal in the tropics, it will breed a wildfire of bacteria that festers until your whole foot has to be sawed off. Just yesterday I helped a man that was missing both feet because of bad wounds. He could only afford one prosthetic so his right foot was just a nub.
Number 6- My step uncle died.
Number 7- I went blind for ten minutes. I’m a total calamity. I was pumping oil and coolant out of the bilge with a transfer pump and I had the hoses backwards and ended up squirting myself in the face and mouth with the muck.
Number 8- Somebody broke into my PayPal account and bought $500 worth of paisley-printed jeans and Nike sweat pants with my credit card. His name is JJ and he lives in Florida. Beware!
Number 9– I think I have lice or ringworm or some bacterial infection on my head because it itches something fierce and I’ve scratched it so hard I’ve got lesions and it hurts to shower.
Number 10 –There is a war. People are dying. Women are wielding machine guns and I am helpless and can’t even handle Number 1-9 of this list.
Anyway, if worse comes to worse, I’ll live in the banana trees and stare at Fiji parrotfinches all day because they are the color of Christmas and they make me happy.
Goodnight and sweet dreams dewdrops.
7 Replies to “WOUNDS WON’T DRY IN THE TROPICS”
Love, of boats, that are too much for us to handle, or too far gone for anyone to handle, is all to common. Ask me how I know. Do not take her to sea if she is not ready. Buy his boat so he can move ashore. finish your circumnavigation. Keep his number.
Merry Christmas and Sleep Well
My oh My, the perils of owning a boat, especially one that leaks like a shower head. I thought you recently replaced the decking and in FP? I know you love Juniper, and had great plans with her as your home. You might need to tweak your plans. Hopefully your week will improve and you and Juniper out. Xoxo, mom
Wow, Olivia. I’m feeling a whole lotta lot after reading your post just now. But, I’ll go here first — I am about to finish reading Tania Aebi’s ‘Maiden Voyage.’ In it (I know you read it, so you might remember this), she talks about having chronic lice — as did her boyfriend, Olivier, also a cruiser — they ended up pouring kerosene over their heads to get rid of the lice because none of the medicated shampoos, provided by doctors, worked. She wrote that the kerosene worked (not that I’m advocating it, just relaying what she wrote in her book), but that she and Olivier suffered hair loss and painful sores on their scalps. She also wrote about how lice was pretty common — I don’t know if she was alluding to this being the case among cruisers or the locals, or both.
Anyhow…ringworm — we adopted a cat from our local rescue shelter about a month before Covid hit. Turns out, shortly after we adopted him, we discovered he had some very mild, bilateral hair loss. However, when our vet tested him, his culture came up negative for ringworm. As the hair loss progressed (despite some oral anti-fungals prescribed for him by our vet) and because our regular vet couldn’t figure out what was wrong, we sought out the advice of an animal dermatologist. We had a molecular test done on him and, yep, he did, indeed, have ringworm — a rare form of it, evidently. Anyhow, about 2 months into all of that malarkey, a lesion appears on my face and then another one on the other side of my face. Ugh! Ack! It took forever for them to go away, and I still have some scarring from it all. Good deeds don’t go unpunished, it seems.
As for Juniper: I knew after I read this sentence in your blog post —
“So much of my galaxy has dissolved over the last seven days that I don’t know how I will wet my whistle without a starship and I fear that I will be left with an unquenchable thirst for the sea.”
— I knew that the news wasn’t going to be good. ? Oh my gosh…my heart is breaking for you and for Juniper!!! I sense in your writing that you know what you want to do about things, but going about doing it is going to be painful. Letting go is never easy.
Which leads me to Chris. I believe that the color and shape of love is different for each person; only you will know what love looks and feels like for you. I feel those answers are fully present within you, but I know that they can be evasive within us as well when we’re not quite ready to find out the answers. Know what I mean? It sounds like, possibly, you’ve both different paths to travel — at least for the now, for the short term. But what lies beyond that, the sky is the limit. Love is everlasting and it escapes the confines of time, of judgment, of space. Love is strong. And you are strong. Keep the faith.
I do not know if you read these comments, but I thought I would respond regardless.
~ Chelle and SV Sunflower
Hang in there girl !!!!
You can do this!
By the way, it’s a great picture.
Sending you love and light ……..
I had trouble getting past number 1.
All part of the journey . . . this is the color of real adventure . . . life’s 5-minutes long, how do you want to do this?