The rain just wetted my face and woke me. I had to get up and close all of the hatches. It’s too bad too because I was dreaming about a jewel, an opal to be exact. 

T’is the cyclone season here in Fiji. There is so much rain and so little sun, and when there is sun it looks like the moon because all the clouds are about to set rain. The roads are rivers, the mangoes are ripe, the rainbows are rolling, the frogs are fat, the passion flowers are pop, and lightening fireworks the night sky like a neon message coming down from aliens. 


I land back from Bali. Juniper’s batteries are dead. I‘ve got four 6 volt batteries in series to equal two 12 volts, but I’m going to switch them out for three 12 volts, that way I’ll have more juice. Diarm and I run all across the water to get the batteries, then he starts to install them, but the negative and positive caps are reversed, so the wires go on wrong and there are sparks and flames and some terminals melt right off- it’s like a magic show. After some drilling and tapping everything works just fine anyhow. 

It’s sunset. Peach-colored. I go for a walk. I pass a water park called Big Bula and I think to myself how fun it would be to go there and I picture myself sliding down a slide. The next morning I get a call from some friends, “Hey, we’ve got an extra ticket to the Big Bula Waterpark. You want to come?”So I go, of course I go, they didn’t even know my desire, this is the flow. I feel like a kid, snake turning down slides and shooting out like shark teeth into pools of water. 


I’m sailing over to Musket Cove for the holidays. The wind just went from the teens to the mid-twenties real rabbit-like. The sea is frothing. I’m on a close reach. I can’t get my jib to reef, the furler clutch is jammed. I fall off the wind to furl and it’s a fast ride the wrong way. The ordeal sets me back by half an hour and the sea licks my face with it’s heavy dog tongue.

I blaze into the mooring field going 5 knots with a double-reefed main only. I know it sounds slow, but for me and my lead boat, it’s rocket fast. I thought the wind was going to be all chill in here, but it’s still howling 22 knots. It’s so yuck that no living thing is out and about, and I don’t know how I’m going to catch the mooring ball on my own. I want help. No, I want the option of help! 

I set everything up and turtle my way towards the ball. Some familiar faces come flying by me on a tender. There is Life! I wave. They call, “Do you need help?” I say, “I don’t know yet. Let me try to get it on my own first.” I pull up into the wind and it’s yelling profanities at me. I get Juniper as close to the ball as I can and motor a deer-length past it. I throw the engine in neutral and run up to the bow as the wind is blowing me back down to the ball. I take my boat hook in my hands and it’s like a long wand. I reach my wand towards the water and concentrate like I’m taking an exam that my future depends upon. I catch the mooring- abracadabra. People in the anchorage are hooting and hollering and I heard one say, “Who in the hell is this woman?” 

Self-reliance feels cool. 


6 A.M. I’m on the water, surrounded by boats, but I’m alone. Diarm had to fly last minute to New Zealand for work. It’s not that I mind solitude, it’s just not how I envisioned this holiday, nor is it how I want to spend another. Anyway, life doesn’t always look how we imagine it to look, but it all works out how it should, and we all end up where we’re supposed to- like water running through a pipe. 

8 A.M. Guys are flying across the  anchorage on foilboards wearing nothing but Santa hats and speedos. It’s such a scene. I’m thinking how cool it would be to learn how to foil, when my boat neighbor- Mick, on Superb, comes over on his dinghy with a foil board in tow. He’s yelling, “There’s a sea snake in me dinghy! It just slithered across me toes!” He grabs the snake by the tail and flicks it overboard then says, “Hey you want to learn how to foil?” Dang, with all of my thoughts turning straight into reality; – the water park, help while mooring, foiling- it feels like God himself is right here with me!  

I suite up and get in the water. Mick pulls me along and I fall a lot. Splash. Splash. Splash.  Splash. He’s saying, “bend your knees,” “keep you feet centered,” “get more weight on your back foot.” Then I get it and I’m up and it’s like a magic carpet ride and I’m screaming, floating, flying. 

2 P.M. – I’m with some Kiwi kids making a Christmas tree out of drift wood, seashells, and fresh flowers. “Nature things,” as the kids say. One of the kids is named after a cow and all she wants is to marry a farmer. My favorite kid is five, but she acts like she’s 50, and she always says “of course.” “Of course I have a dress with bunny rabbits on it.” “Of course I saw a sea snake today.” They all think the way that I say “basil” is hysterical and they find my 3.3 HP outboard ridiculous. 

5 P.M. I’m at the Christmas Eve cruiser’s potluck at the island bar- imagine a palm roofed hut surrounded by sand. I made a chocolate cake topped with chocolate icing and unicorn sprinkles. It must be good, people are shoveling it into their mouths with their bare hands. Everyone is wearing crazy Christmas hats and floral tops- I feel like I’m in a Dr. Seuss book. Tropical Santa is here too, his sled is an octopus and his reindeer are angelfish. 

1 A.M. I can’t sleep. I miss my family.


I don’t want to do anything but lay here. What is this feeling? I make myself get up. The sun is dazzling. I make myself dinghy over to the village to spend Christmas with a fisherman friend. All of the village houses are decorated with balloons and tinsel and ribbons. There are starfish in the sand and a thousand mosquitos that only like white skin. People are cooking pigs and root vegetables in earth ovens. We hike through the jungle. We go to church. We sing “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” in Fijian. I feel at home.

Some of the fisherman’s family are wearing outfits made from the same pink and orange geometric fabric- and I wish I was matching them too. There must be 20 relatives here. We are gathered inside a two-room house. The fisherman’s older sister is cooking, his brother is in a corner of the room repairing an outboard engine, and a little girl in a pink dress is playing with a toy gun. Bang. Bang. Bang. The fisherman has twin nieces that I can’t stop staring at; they are as tall as Mount Fuji and gorgeous and one of them is an airline stewardess for Fiji Airways. 

There is a red cloth on the floor in the center of the room. It is covered in plates of food-  chop suey, watermelon, fish, fish head, more fish, taro, cassava. We sit on the floor around it. The ladies swat the flies away with their handmade fans. Someone says “grace,” then we all dig in.

Lunch is over. The fisherman is getting high off brown weed from a homemade bong. The mosquitos are biting. We build a fire and hang out in the shade. I learn how to roll  across the earth on an oil drum. 

It’s low tide. I walk across the water and go  to a small grocery store on the next island over. I come back to the village with two tubs of ice cream, cones, and the Kiwi kids that I built the Christmas tree with. At this point the fisherman’s really high, and the elders are all outside, and everyone is eating ice cream and it’s dripping down their faces. The fisherman is telling the Kiwi kids how he survives, “I dive to collect food, I use nets to catch fish, and I farm to grow vegetables.” Then out of no possible known place the Kiwi kid that is named after the cow looks at me and says real loud, “I bet you’ve got hairs on your vagina. Don’t you?” She is nine years old. Everyone in the village starts laughing. The fisherman says, “If a Fijian kid spoke like that, they’d get smacked.” I want to stick my head into a fruitcake. That’s where Christmas ends. 


It’s the week between the holidays. I am anchored over at Namotu. Fishing for squid. Surfing. Swimming. Staring at life. The sun is bright. Everything shimmers and shines, and the sea and the sky are true blue.



I’m on a yacht called Lazy Sunday. There are disco lights. I don’t know what people are on, something beyond booze. I learn how to do a dance maneuver involving a backbend. Some of the women have just gone topless, I don’t know what is happening. I feel like I am in some 1970’s Italian film. I could never, would never, go topless. I’m a prude like that. I did, however, once flash the NYC Harbor police. Have I already told you that story? It was my birthday and ten of us are sailing down the East River and people are jumping off the spreaders of the boat every time we go under a bridge- which come to think of it was probably foolish because the East River used to be called “syringe tide” and that water is a toxic sewage brew. Anyway, the NY Harbor police come after us with their lights flashing. There are four people on their boat, three men and a woman. One of them gets on the megaphone and says, “Stop jumping into the river.” I say, “Why?” They say, “It’s illegal.” (Which is not true.) I say, “Is this illegal?” and flash them! They laugh and say, “Do that again.” So I flash them again and two of my friends join in, and the cops are laughing hard, and one of them takes a picture. My friends and I keep jumping into the river and we never did get in any trouble.

It’s midnight thirty and I’m already in bed. I did not get a good luck kiss! What will 2023 bring? There is a New Years Day tradition in the village tomorrow that involves everyone throwing baby powder onto each other. I want to go, I should go, maybe the baby powder will give me good luck.

Happy New Years! I finished season 1 of the Wilderness of Waves podcast. New episodes are being released from now until the end of February.  Come get inside my head and swim around. I promise you won’t drowned! 

P.S.- Would love your thoughts on. Does it sound ok? Do you like it? 


  1. Happy New Year, Olivia! It is always such a joy to read your stories — I hang onto, savor every word! I have been listening to your WoW podcasts on Apple — I love them! It’s a treat to hear your stories, literally, in your own voice — please keep them coming! Fair winds, ~ Chelle🌻💖🤗⛵️🌞

  2. The podcasts sound like a good idea. I don’t think throwing baby powder at each other is a good idea. I have heard inhaling baby powder is dangerous for your respiratory system. Even lawsuits against Johnson and Johnson. Loving your blogs! At age 80 I had hoped to sail around the world but my husband died of pancreatic cancer when we were in Mexico and in our 40’s. Thank you for my being able to vicariously cruise with you.

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