Hey honey bunny. I’m still cruising around Espiritu Santo. Don’t you like that name? Holy Spirit. Holy Ghost. Holy Light. There are probably a lot of ghosts here. It was a base for American soldiers during WWII and you should see the stuff that sank in waters beneath me; tanks and ships and guns and glass and guns and glass and guns and glass. Look up Million Dollar Point and SS President Coolidge.
I nearly caught my whole boat on fire the other day and Juniper would have sunk down there with all those war relics. You ever been to a hibachi grill? My boat looked like that! I was making some pasta sauce and I went to pour the canned tomatoes into the pan of onions and garlic and the can wasn’t fully opened, so some of the tomato water juice leaked out into the pan but no tomatoes and woosh flames everywhere. It was shocking! I just stared at it for a while. Froozen. By grease fire. I stared for too long because it burned the artwork right off of my galley wall. I put the fire out by turning the burner off. But wow. What a show!
I hear that your whole country is on fire? Where I am we’re drowning in raindrops. Cloudbursts galore. I wish I could send you some buckets of rain for your fire. I love me a good bucket of rain. I haven’t moved much on account of the wet and the wind. Everything in my life depends on the wind! And the sun. Without sun I don’t have much power. On the rainy days I run my engine often in order for the alternator to charge my world up. For the most part, my life is pretty rustic, like camping.
I also haven’t been moving because I’ve been in deep contemplation and feel as if I am adrift among the blue sky stone. I’m debating doing this massive life-changing sailing thing that I haven’t even told my mom about yet for fear of what it might do to her head and heart. It’s not really different from what I’m doing now, it would just be sailing non-stop for a little under a year on colder oceans in the form of a race. The preparation for it it would take me several years. Anyway I haven’t made up my mind on it yet, but I am sort of gagging to go get lost in a field of waves.
The race committee asked why I want to do it. This is my answer: “Why on earth did man want to walk on the moon? What does a bird have wings? Why does grass grow green? I don’t really know. The answer is not simple. Maybe it is because solo sailing is the dreamiest. Maybe it’s because I like to push myself inside the depths of my soul until I am forced to swim. Maybe it’s because I need a new challenge. Maybe it’s because the race is all I have thought about since I first thought about doing it? Maybe it’s because I love to have something big to sink myself into. Maybe I want to feel my fate in the teeth of every known and unknown God. Maybe I like to push myself beyond my limits until I can grow tree high. Maybe it’s because the heart of nature is my greatest teacher. Maybe it’s because I am on a never-ending hunt for self-reliance. Maybe my body is just a puppet for some crazed master that likes me to do masochistic things. Maybe because I want to immerse myself in a world of liquid light. Maybe because there is a piece of me lost at sea and I am hunting for it. Maybe because I love to get lost and found in the wilderness of waves. Maybe because I want to write about it. Maybe because I like to get close to the Holy Ghost. Maybe because I don’t feel alive unless I am doing something that makes me fight for living. Maybe because I grew up landlocked and the sea has always been a mythical thing for me. Maybe because the thought of it is simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. Maybe because I think doing it will get me closer to understanding the meaning of life. Maybe because crossing the finish line would feel like a fairytale. Maybe, just for the poetry of it. Maybe I want my mind to be bent into new spaces. Maybe I am mad. Maybe I don’t just like to look at the fire, but I like to put my hand into the fire. Maybe because I want to sail around the world using only the stars and I’ll never do it unless someone makes me do it. Maybe because I think it might lead me to a love of self that no darkness can penetrate.
I honestly can’t say how I’d be after so much time at sea. I do know that after my solo crossing to Hawaii it was hard integrating back to land and people noted that I seemed as if I’d been living in a cage. I suppose, back then, I was only just starting to get used to having the ocean explode on me and making deals with God and losing half my guts. Anyway, should I do it? The race? To do it or not to do it….?
All of Vanuatu celebrated Independence Day for more than a week. It was cool to witness. Bamboo drums. Fire dancing. Reggae. Rock. Speeches. Boxing. Soccer in the streets. Everyone in red and black and yellow and green. Vanuatu flags flying off cars and faces. Fireworks. Corn on the cob soaked in coconut cream. Candy. Popcorn. Pork on a stick. Cherry red hot dogs. Pool tables. Darts. Screaming. Dancing. Kava juice.
One cup of kava from this country knocks me on my face. Every bit of me goes numb and tingly and I can’t feel my tongue and all I want is bed and sweet tasting things and you. There are kava shacks (namakas) all over this city with a single colored light in front of them. Inside is the same as outside. I went to one that had bright fabric dripping down multiple stalls with different people selling different tasting kava inside. There was a hierarchy and order in which you had to buy kava. First from that stall. Then that one. I was taught to shout a gods name and pour some of my kava out for that god before drinking it myself.
I was with a South African gal who had never had kava before. She said, “What’s going to happen when I drink this?” I moved my arms and legs around like an octopus and said, “A spirit is gonna pop out from between our legs and make us free fall and all around us there will be nothing but moving monsters.” Everybody laughed.
Kava root is tough….it’s a bloody root! You gotta grind it up, mix it with water, then squeeze out the juice, then drink that juice. In the north of Vanuatu they used to grind kava root with limestone or coral, in the south they used their teeth to chew it soft! My friend says drinking it is “Like drinking a puddle.” I couldn’t agree more. Anyway I don’t drink a lot of kava because I’m a morning kind of gal and you can’t hoot with the owls at night and soar with the eagles in the morning, now can you?
Anyway, I spent most of the Independence Day celebrations trying to chase down this bamboo band. I heard them once across the water from my boat and the sound blew my mind into sparkles. I started chasing them down the next day. I went to this place and that and I would have just missed them or wound up at the wrong location or been to tired to wait until midnight to see them. Many days went like this. Eventually I saw them at some resort. They have different length bamboo canes woven together like a xylophone and they play them with foam paddles and the sound is the most dynamic dreamy thing I’ve ever heard! When one of the bamboo instruments fell over, I gasped, and a man looks at me and goes, “Don’t worry there’s a lot of bamboo in the bush.” It was so funny.
Another musical experience I had was at one of the blue holes. When I say blue I mean blue like Topaz. It’s spring water that runs through limestone which gives it this outer space color. You can see straight through it to the bottom of the barrel too. Anyway I arranged for all the mamas from the Banks Islands to come there and perform their traditional water music. The mamas arrived with their bodies covered in green grass and their heads wrapped in flowers. They drummed the water with their hands; mimicking sounds like raindrops, dolphin fins flapping, and cyclones. Sometimes they sang on top about men and coconuts. There is no ceremonial purpose of this music, but it is ancient and was created for women to have something fun to do while they did their washing and whatnot in the river.
Somewhere along the Santo way I got jelly belly. I’ll spare you the details. It’s probably the municipal water. I’ll have you know that it was bad enough that I’ve started collecting rain and have vowed to not drink anything that doesn’t fall from the sky or rise up out of a crystal clear spring. My neighbor helped me rig up a planter box and a hose to make my rain collection easy. The rain falls off my bimini and into the planter box, then into the hose, then into my tanks. Easy peasy breezy, baby.
Other than the tummy ache, my life feels on the up and up. What else can I tell you? Oh yea, get this funny thing, when a man is introducing his wife in the local language, Bislama, he says, “Woman blo me.” Meaning woman belongs to me. Belong is spelled “blong” and they say blo for short. And the ultimate insult around here is to call somebody a “teep skin,” that means they’re not circumcised. Oh and there was an earthquake here on the same day that Sinead O’Conner died. I couldn’t feel it from the boat, but the people on land were all wild-eyed over it.
Speaking of eyes, did you know that butterflies and bees will drink turtle tears as a source of sodium and minerals. Next time you cry, may the butterflies clean your eyes! Anyway, I’m in this really lovely anchorage now and the water is all aquamarine like mermaids blood and there are dugong everywhere and I miss you, as always. If you were here we’d hang on a swing above this blue water and laugh and align with all that is and ever was. Remember not to get hooked on the doom and gloom! Stay golden!
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*Hi Sunshines, below is 2 hours of humpback whale songs that I recorded in the Spring of 2018 off the coast of Maui in Hawaii. I find them hauntingly beautiful. I am posting them here so you can get all jazzy with their alien song & dance around in your v-berth like a mermaid. Stay fly! xoxo O
I have also made a channel intro so you can get a sense of what I will be posting there: