I’m sailing away from the Kadavu lagoon. I’m leaving on a pure east wind and heading northwest. I must go with the wind. It’s always better to go with the wind. It’s always better to go with the water. It’s always better to go with the tornado. Name one thing in this every-loving natural world you’d try to go against!
Right now I’m in the pass. Almost to the ocean. There is a following current and I’m shooting over the water faster than a fish flies. There’s not another living soul around. This is what I wanted. To be alone.
Mother of Pearl, I almost just hit a reef! About smacked right into it. I did a hard turn to port while slapping my own cheeks. Wake up. Rise and shine. Keep your eyes peeled and your panties on!
I’m not leaving Kadavu because of my bad dream, or the fishermen with the half-dead sea turtle, or Hakuna Matata, or the mangrove-loving insects now living inside of my laptop. I’m leaving because I desperately need to replenish my provisions. I spent two days looking for food, from island to island, from village to village, from house to house, from tree to tree. I even stalked a ferry.
At the end of my pursuit I didn’t have much to show for it; three varieties of bananas, a couple of potatoes, a sulu, one coconut, a homemade palm tree fan, a chocolate cake slice with orange sprinkles, and an avocado. I did however meet some fascinating people along the way. You know how you have to be in the right mood to talk to strangers? Well I was in The Mood.
There was the woman near the ferry who made the chocolate cake, Ladi. She was a big woman- could flatten the tires on a truck without trying- and she was all dolled up in salmon pink. Come to think of it, she kind of matched her cakes. Anyway, she told me that she got three whales teeth for her dowry. Three! Can you imagine? I reckon it’s on account of her being such a swell baker and how sugar goes straight to the stomach, then rises up and feeds all that tenderness to the heart and whatnot.
Then, in one village, where a bunch of bananas cost $20 FJD (which is outrageous), I sat on the grass and got interviewed by everybody who lived there and had ears. All the available men had questions; Why did I sail alone? Do I believe in God? Do I want children? How old am I? I told them that I’m as old as the Rosetta Stone, and that I’m a terrible baker, and that I can’t make anything out of palm tree leaves, but that I can start a fire, and I can wrangle the wind and sail them to another country, all thanks to the awesomeness of God.
And everywhere I went, absolutely everybody wanted to know where I was when the Tongan Volcano erupted and if I could hear it. I told them that it sounded like exploding thunder and that I think everybody in the South Pacific heard it. Some people also wanted to know what I really thought of COVID. So I made them pinkie promise not to tell, then I told them what I really thought and they nodded and agreed and afterwards we shook hands in that secret way that people on the same team do.
Now here I am, on the water, in search of something more than potatoes and bananas. If it weren’t for my empty cupboards, a place like Kadavu could really suck me in. It’s a crying shame to leave. I’ll miss it’s whole wavelength. I’ll miss the people; that make me laugh and get me all lovestruck. I’ll miss the green islands; that are all dayglo and dreamy. I’ll miss the lagoon; with it’s sharks and turtles and dolphins and sea snakes and coral.
It’s so mellow out here. I’m on a broad reach with 11 knots of apparent wind. The sun is setting and there are big magenta psychedelic rays shooting up from the horizon. The near to full Pink Moon will rise soon with all it’s lunacy. I hope it doesn’t stir me up and shake me. What if I unravel? What if I turn into a werewolf? What if I start doing some spastic dance that causes me to fall overboard?
It’s just me out here. By my lonesome. I just realized that this night is my forty-fourth night alone on the ocean. My first night alone on the ocean was the first night of my voyage to Hawaii. I can’t hardly believe it. I’m gonna shoot for 360 nights alone out here, so when I die they’ll say, “She was wild and weird and wonderful, and she spent a year of nights alone at sea.”
Anyway, the ocean is such a mighty pretty thing to witness in solitude. The way a wave bends and breaks and falls. The sun, the stars, the salt. It’s all so magnetic. I spend a lot of my time just staring and thinking.
When you sit and really think about life, doesn’t it just seem like you’re dreaming it all up. Like the very fact that here I am sailing across this sphere of land and sea that floats in space. Like how a chicken plops an egg out of its derrière and then we eat it. Fried, scrambled, sunny-side up. Like how we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide and how a tree absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. Like how everything changes below the equator; clockwise, counterclockwise. Like how dolphins sleep with one eye open. Like how at the end of rain there is a rainbow. Like how winged reptiles used to fly around in the sky. Pterodactyl, what a name. Life on earth is beautiful and strange.
This night is so soaked in bright and blue moonlight, that I don’t even need my headlamp. I’m sleeping in the cockpit. Forty minutes at a time. There is land and reef between where I am and where I’m going and I’m trying to get around it without jibing.
It’s almost midnight and I am not going to make it past Vatulele and Cakau Lekaleka without jibing. I swear there’s a current sucking me straight into it. I furl the jib. I jibe. I unfurl the jib. Back in the day, which was only three years ago, I used to jibe with the mainsail and the jib and the staysail flying. All three sails at once. Octopus handed. I don’t know how I did it. Sometimes I myself, can not believe myself.
The longer I sail, the lazier I get with my sails. Like these days, I just permanently keep one reef in the mainsail, even in the tiniest puffs of wind. And you’d really have to twist my arm and put me high above the beam in over 30 knots of wind to get me to hoist the staysail.
As long I go with the wind, and the water, and the tornados, I’ll eventually get wherever I’m going.