I’m sailing along the Coral Coast, towards the island of fire walkers and mongoose. Do you know how good the wind feels in my face? Like silk spun straight out of the caterpillar. Juniper’s not fully fixed but she’s fixed enough. So what if my 12 Volt power outlet is cooking cables and my autopilot keeps spinning the boat in circles. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter, because the sun is high and the air is dry and the waves are licking like a streak of luck.
I’m out here singing at the top of my lungs for the whole ocean to hear. Baby geckos are running all over my boat. Thunder and lightning are bubbling out of the clouds that hang over land. Piles of wood and birds are floating by. And I see a brown booby bobbing around on his back with his feet up, he looks like his lounging in a beach chair and being entertained by the flash of poems in the sky.
I’m cruising with two other boats, SeaGlub and Macushla- which is Irish for darling, sweetheart, or pulse of my heart. The boat is full of people from the Great Lakes and one guy aboard studies frogs.
We’re flowing from place to place and I will confess that weaving between the reefs never gets easier on my nerves, even when I follow the other boats through it. My head is all, “engine don’t die,” “wind don’t be wicked,” “waves don’t move an inch.”
We spent the last two nights in Natadola where the sand is gold and fine. On that beach there really is a horse named Lady Gaga and she has a baby named Rosie. And there are women with massage shacks that have colorful sheer curtains that blow in the wind and reveal bits of skin.
Some of my friends from Vanua Levu were staying at the hotel in Natadola. They flew in by helicopter and landed on a roof top. It was very decadent. The man is half-Fijian and his wife is Canadian. They live in a traditional village where his blood is royal and maybe one day he‘ll be a chief. They grow kava, and rent out tractors, and have a Roti factory. The wife told me hysterical stories about a life lost in translation. She tells it like it is, I like people like that, who are so truthful that every word from their mouth feels like some naughty secret. It’s like I’m watching them undress.
I hope you feel like that when you read my words. I hope they get you right in your solar plexus and your heart can’t help but open up. I hope that we are never strangers.
Sometimes bizarre stuff comes into my head, like just now I saw a flower floating on the water and I heard in my head, “And from this flower will come a fruit and the fruit will taste sour.” Then my mind dove deeper into botanical thoughts and I’m laughing because I will forever find it fascinating that fruits and seeds are plant ovaries. Eating them is a very intimate and sensual act, that’s why we gotta do it with our mouths closed.
Anyway it rains so much here that most of the plant ovaries are floating in the ocean and I just hit a log or a nut and it sounded ever so dreadful. The sun is almost below the horizon and I’m about to pull into the unmarked pass of Korolevu. The thing is I can’t tell where the reef is and is not because water is breaking everywhere and I’m looking at satellite views and Navionics and my eyes feel deceived.
I’ve got no boat to follow in; SeaGlub just caught a big fish and he’s floating off the coast fighting to reel it in and Macushla is already anchored. But I’m being blessed by a pod of dolphins right now. They are playing like puppies and doing circus tricks off my bow. I think they want to show me the way or at least I want them to want to show me the way, but after a while I realize that they don’t care which way I go or don’t go, as long as I go.
The captain of Macushla starts guiding me in on channel 69 with the loose vowels of Wisconsin on his tongue, “10 degrees to port, now straighten her out and head towards our stern. Stop there. What’s your depth? Come a little closer. It won’t get any better. Drop it now.”
I set the anchor. The water is green and there are breaking waves a few hundred feet to my left and right. I pass out at moon rise.
When I wake up in the morning I hear the blow of dolphins, they are still with me, swimming around Juniper. And there are horses stampeding down the beach, and a bird with dark feathers and long yellow legs lands on my spreader. I jump in the water and I’m swimming towards the dolphins and I realize that all my favorite creatures live in the water or in the air. Sea and sky. Sky and sea. Sea and sky.
It’s a real dreamer of a morning. This is why I own a boat. This one morning is worth those 14 days on the dock. This is why the broken bits don’t matter.
TAKE A TOUR OF JUNIPER!