You know what I love about the sailing community? You can be at a party and say, “Hey, let’s all go to Vanuatu!” And someone responds, “Yes and after that, Papua New Guinea, and then Indonesia.” And we mean it. And we’ll do it. Soon.
I feel like a boomerang. I’m back in the Denarau marina. Eating everything; bhindi masala, pineapple, roasted root vegetables, cappuccinos, salads, tacos, fresh squeezed juice. Fixing everything; a busted shower pump, my alternator belt, corroded electrical busbars, the ghost inside my autopilot. Loving everything; the Hans Christian sailboat down the dock, the teak oil soaking into my wood, the fresh water spilling out of a hose and into my tanks.
I just finished filling the water tanks and something is amiss. I can hear water falling out of the tanks and into my bilge. I lift the floorboards. It’s not a trickle, it’s Niagara Falls. I’m touching hoses, looking for the leak, watching the water rise. It wouldn’t matter much except that my bilge pump is down because the electrical panel is all disassembled and if I don’t find this leak fast I’m going to be swimming in 120 gallons of water.
I need help. I always need help. I wish I had an identical twin. Would we get along? Would she like gold duct tape as much as I do? Would she also think that society has tried to shape her into a shape that doesn’t suite her? Would she struggle with losing something that hurts too much to keep? When she got nervous would she gag and almost throw up on her own bare feet? I wonder.
I run around like a crocodile. I find the man who patched up Juniper’s holes of sun the last time I was in Denarau. Together we lift things and look and pull. Along the way he teaches me to say, “When I look at you something strange is happening to me on the inside,” in Hindi. It’s way more poetic, but not as deep as, “I love you.”
We discover that the seals in my galley whale pump are broken and that’s why water is leaking. I can’t keep up with all the fixing. That’s what I need the twin for. That would be her job.
I have a new job. You know how much I love looking at fish? Well now I’m being paid to film fish! I’m making underwater meditation classes for Alo Moves. They’re seascapes meant to rinse the junk out of your mind. Imagine how much more relaxed you would feel after staring at a video of a jellyfish for ten minutes.
Is my life for real? Four years ago I had no money and was working for minimum wage at West Marine. Now I’m living on a sailboat that I sailed to Fiji and filming fish for a living. Life can be whatever it is you want it to be, so long as you stay golden in your heart. I wish I had always known that.
Flash. Flash. It’s raining right now. Flash. It rains just about every night. I used to love to sleep to the sound of rain, but the boat has still got leaks and the sound of rain is heart pumping. It’s like music in a horror film. I toss and turn and get up and throw all the important pieces of my life under the covers with me.
It smells like wet rats are dying all over Juniper too. Or better yet, you know that rootless, leafless plant called the “corpse flower” that lures insects with the scent of death? That’s what Juniper smells like. During the day I’m burning sage and cedar and candles and five sticks of incense just to hide the wet stench. I need to make an umbrella big enough for Juniper. It would go from all the way up to the top or her mast, down to her bottom paint.
A catamaran called Zephyr just rocked up to the dock. They’re an international crew. Three guys, one gal. One of them keeps staring at Juniper. He says, “What kind of boat is that? It looks just like my boat.”
He finds out that I made two solo crossings without a working engine. He says, “Woah you’re the real deal. You must be a really good sailor.” I say, “No, I’m just a really bad mechanic.” He laughs.
None of my new dock friends own Zephyr and they can’t tell me who does. They’ll lose their lips and tongues and jobs if they do. It’s top secret. But I put the dots together and everybody on this earth has heard of the owners unless they’ve come undone or werewolved themselves up in a cave for the past twenty years.
Zephyr has systems built by Nigel Calder and the captain has Nigel on speed dial. Can you imagine? What I would give to call Nigel from out at sea. I’d be like, “Yo what up Nigel, my engine is on fire.” And he’d be like, “Hang up the phone and pull the pin on your fire extinguisher.”
I had a fire extinguisher go off on me the other day. I don’t even know what happened, I was just moving the thing around so I could install something and white powder flew out, dusting up my digs. At least I know the thing works!
The captain of Zephyr overheard me talking about how energy inefficient Juniper is and he just gifted me with 350 more watts of solar. Do you even know how much this has changed my boating life for the better? I’m over the moon. I’m past the moon. I’m jumping up and down on some planet you’ve never even heard of that sits on the farthest side of the moon.
I‘ve been trying to run Juniper on 200 watts of solar and she’s an energy vampire. I couldn’t even run my fridge and my laptop at the same time. I was turning things off and on and running to other boats to save cheese from dying in the heat. Now I have 550 watts total and by 8 a.m. my batteries are already sitting at 12.6 volts. It’s insane. I could run a vacuum cleaner off all this power I got.
I love the sun for all the magic it makes.
In other news, I just looked in the mirror for the first time in a while and it appears that someone has mysteriously cut a massive chunk out of my hair. I’ve got a whole section on the back of my head that’s only two inches long. I don’t know if it happened in the conga line that I fell into last night or if someone snuck aboard while I was asleep and cut it off.
Of course I did just hear a story that could have made my hair fall off. A couple was sailing across an ocean and the man went up the mast to make a repair. He clipped in at the top. The boat bounced on a wave and tick-tocked. The man’s body flung forward and his head hit the mast. He went unconscious and his wife couldn’t get him down. She had to sail the rest of the voyage with her dead husband dangling from the top of the mast, all the while getting pecked at by seabirds.
Darling, I don’t mean to leave you with such a sad story and such a sour taste, but I must drift onwards now. I will think of you in the wake of this black moon solar eclipse. Don’t let the dark carry you too far away from the sun.
*Check out my mediation classes on Alo Moves for free during the month of May! The first class is called “Synchronised Swimming” and will release on May 3rd.
Anthony, over at Double Down Sailing, made this cool video of the two us having a virtual bowline tying contest! Can you tie a bolwine in less than 4 seconds?
Darling, if you are enjoying this journey, please consider becoming a Patreon. I hold hour long monthly Q&As for patrons only & I let you ask me anything your heart desires.
2 Replies to “CORPSE FLOWER”
Olivia , Double down on your issues with your boat. Fix everything that bothers so you get it out of your head. Cus your head will never be right if it’s bogged down with STUFF.
Love the fish N coral flic! Are you grading the footage in Pr? Would have liked to have seen more blood in the bowline gladiator battle . . . like the captain of the Juniper pulling off a one-handed bowline in less than 4 seconds.