The past week was a soaking wet mush mash and I felt like one of those eyeless shrimps that lives inside of a volcanic sea vent. The clouds were all thunderheaded and they rose up so high and crept down so close that you couldn’t tell what was what or not what from the water. I was encompassed by a blind of black inside of a raindrop forest and there wasn’t one single eye in the sky. And the damp air smothered my skin like the hot breath of a desert camel.
People say it’s never rained so hard in Fiji. Not in 20 years. Not in 100 years. Not in any cyclone. Never. There were three squalls a day, with winds averaging 25 to 30 knots and sometimes roaring towards 40. Rain was hammering, slanted and stiff, and Juniper was a wet carnival ride.
The sun came in spurts but never stuck around long enough to dry anything out. Black mold was growing on everything, plants were loosing their roots and sliding into the ocean, and everybody found water leaking on the wrong side of inside.
Juniper doesn’t have water leaks. She has waterfalls. About seven of them from bow to stern. Gushing. My little floating waterfall maker. Does anybody need a waterfall? You can have them all, they come with a boat.
I’m sort of serious. The other night I dreamt that someone else was sailing Juniper in 5 knots of wind on a close reach and they got her to glide across the waves at 15 knots with the genoa only. It’s impossible, but in the dream it made me jealous that someone else could sail my boat better than me. Maybe someone could sail her better than me now that she is a boat of waterfalls.
Am I losing my mind? I’m looking for my mind. My mind! Have you seen it? Either the boat is breaking me or I am breaking the boat. I can’t tell which.
Wait. The rain just stopped. Everything feels different. I’m on a new planet now. Euphoria! My senses are exploding. The wind is a kitten and the sun is singing and the water has never looked so translucent and teal. And the fragrance of land is an evolving perfume that flows from hibiscus to passionflower to grass and I can smell the sap inside of every tree I pass.
All the land creatures must have been shagging in the rain because the ground is moving in waves made of mud and little things; little frogs and geckos and butterflies. Everything is bubbling and alive. I like observing these day-old-looking things hopping around in the surprise of life. After the rain, I‘m seeing life like the little things do, everything is new.
The sun just sank. It split through the atmosphere like a prism then flashed green. Finally, I’ve seen the mirage of THE GREEN FLASH! I think I needed all those days of dark to fine tune my vision.
*Happy Valentines Day! As a special treat you can get 20 % off of Kamoka Pearls ..Discount Code= OLIVIA ( sale ends at midnight PST , but afterwards this code still gets you a 15 % discount)
*FROM SAND TO SATELLITES is an article I wrote for Allen Coral Atlas & National Geographic. Read it to take a sailing journey with me through the Tuamotus. Along the way you will learn about psychedelic mollusks & the ecosystem that spirals outwards from the reefs & The Allen Coral Atlas which is the world’s first global coral reef map that provides live data of reef health as well as conservation tools. P.S.- watch this video I made to learn more about the Atlas.
*Patreon supporter Q&A will be Sunday February 27th at 10 am (Fiji Time).
Madame Mystic lives in cave on the windward side of the island where the breeze blows the palm trees bare. People say she’s a touch mad and a touch magic. And that she can spin the sun into spells. And that she can change shapes and slip into any crack in your skin.
The day I ventured to Madame Mystic’s cave the moon was in a bad mood and the goddess of the volcano was on fire, so the journey took me a week by zebra. I climbed over Monkey Mountain. I floated through Raindrop Forest. I scaled the sands of Quicksand Quake. By the time I arrived, my body was a tomb with a busted heart inside.
I stood at the mouth of the cave. It was as dark as a tiger’s eye and the wind moaned like a hundred ghost women behind me. Laying on the ground at my feet was a conch shell with the words “blow me” etched onto it. I picked it up and blew.
A dozen sherbet orange snakes slid out of the cave and Madame Mystic came floating out behind them. She was a big woman, looked like maybe she could roll more easily than she could walk. Her skin was blue midnight and her hair looked like melting snowflakes. Her painted pink lips puffed out like a blowfish and she had two arms, two tentacles, a pair of wings, and two legs.
Madame Mystic clapped her hands then fireflies started glowing like lanterns inside her cave. She looked me up and down and said, “Oohweee, look at you. No bigger than a petal! Whatchu be needin Creature Child? If it’s magic you want, I gots me a sea of potions up inside this cave.”
Madame Mystic looked as wild as wild is. Her dress was alive and flowing, it was made of a million jellyfish and she wore seahorses as earrings. I took a step back. I opened my mouth to answer but not a bug crawled out.
Madame Mystic said, “Has the crab got you tongue Creature Child? What’s you need. Yous want to fly? I can teach yous to fly.” As she said it she lifted into the air and flew to the top of a tree. She sat right up there with the orangutans and kept on talking.
“Yous want me to heal them bones Creature Child? I can heal them bones!” After she said it, she jumped down from the tree and crushed a frog with her feet. The frog was dead flat, deflated, and breathless. Then she sang “Frog bones be fine on the count of nine 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9.” And with that the frog puffed back to life, transformed into a parrot, and flew away.
I took another step back. Butterflies flew out of Madame Mystic’s mouth as she went on, “Yous want to travel through space and time? Where do yous want to go? To Paris in 1969. To the dawn of the dinosaurs. To the sunny side of the moon?” I can take you anywheres yous want to go!” Every time she said a place we were there. I saw the Eiffel Tower, T. Rex, and outer space, in a matter of minutes.
I took another step back. I opened my mouth again and said, “I-I-I don’t need to fly or Paris or anything fancy like that. I’ve got a sickness. A love sickness. A deep and dark and drooping love sickness for a fisherman named Fred. I pine. I ache. I can’t eat or sleep and my head is all a flush with fever and all I can think is Fred, Fred, Fred. Everything within me is breaking. Give me a love potion. Give me something! Please Madame Mystic, please!”
I started crying after I said it too. Wailing the way that sea lions do.
Madame Mystic lifted her eyebrows, shook her head, and said, “There ain’t no real love potion creature child. Love is love. Love is more magic than magic, and magic can’t be replacin’ it. Love potions only create obsession and obsession is dangerous. It masquerades around with the passion of love but it’s needy and ain’t never satisfied. It’s an irresistible, uncontrollable, and reckless kinda love. It’s a fatal attraction kinda love. It’s the kinda love that’ll kill yous if yous ain’t careful. Is that what yous want Creature Child?”
I sounded like a banshee by now and I was intoxicated with thoughts of Fisherman Fred. I wanted him, yes. At any price, yes, yes, yes, and I told Madame Mystic so.
Madame Mystic said, “Creature Child, yous don’t want Fred back, trust me. If Fred comes back to yous after drinkin’ a love potion, Fred won’t even be Fred. What kind of name is Fred anyway? How’s about a tonic that makes Fred’s breath stink to high heaven so yous won’t never ever wants to kiss him again? Or how’s about a spell that makes them thoughts of Fred run straight out yous head? Or hows about I turn Fred into a mean-lookin’ shark or a blobfish or a hagfish? Or how’s about a charm that makes Fred’s pecker falls right off so hes won’t never be good for nothin in bed? Hows about it Creature Child?”