Still Around

Finally! It is raining outside. One of those gentle tropical rains that, even if you happen to get wet, is nothing but a blissful blessing pouring down from the grey heavens. Aluna is sitting ankle deep in less than a foot of water and just five minutes ago I was busy scraping five months worth of marine growth off her underwater skin of copper epoxy. The fouling here in the northern Fiji waters is by far more harmless than it was for example in the Marquesas. While it’s a relatively straightforward task there is not much fun woven into this chore. I put together a maybe three-inch wide aluminum scraper with a short broom handle on it. With the tide receding I danced around the two hulls and got my wiry body a very good upper body workout, but just when I got ready to work the waterline with a scouring pad it started pouring out of dark grey overhanging clouds. I continued on for a bit but finally gave in, thinking in good tropical manner that any hard work can always be done later if not altogether tomorrow. So finally I have some quality time inside Aluna’s cozy hulls to write, which I haven’t done much of lately, to say the least. As is my long-standing habit, I do have good excuses close at hand.

The first one is that after a good five years of devoted service, four of which in the punishing environment of sea salt saturated air, my trusty Apple laptop decided to finally call it quits. It has had its issues with temperature regulation for quite some time, now I guess it must have been suffering an acute tropical heat stroke of some sorts. Anyway, two weeks later, and thanks to some amazingly good hearted and logistically well-versed people up in the Pacific Northwest, a replacement has been jet setting across the largest ocean on Earth and arrived a few days ago at the local DHL shack. After doing some cybernetic surgery, swapping the vital innards of my old machine with the new one, I’m hammering away on a slightly clunkier keyboard and staring at a slightly smaller screen. And this is all just good. Downsizing technologically can only be a healthy thing in these weird days of cybernetic alienation.

Then there is, of course, the ever-hectic spiraling whirlwind towards an imminent departure for the high seas. Four days ago the Southern Hemisphere Cyclone Season officially started. The fact that the Fijian authorities made it crystal clear from the moment I set foot on their lands, that they are absolutely and terminally uninterested in my participation within their subjects affairs had its say too. Even if there was a just a bit more welcoming atmosphere here, the choking economy, crippled by the ransacking brutes of the military wranglers over in the barracks of Suva, would have made it difficult to stay on in a self-sustaining manner for an extended time.

Which is the very reason that had me sloshing around in the water and scraping barnacles, sponges and other colorful organisms from Aluna’s underbelly. Within less than a week things should be ready for heading down South again into the stormy seas of the variables on course to New Zealand for yet another season of minimum salary slavery. The weather then needs to do its side of the equation.

After the many repairs and general maintenance chores I did manage to take a quick breather the other day and went aloft for a hike across the almost a thousand feet high crest that runs down the peninsula on the Southeastern side of the mighty Savusavu Bay. Mainly confined to the boat over the last couple months my bodily vehicle had gotten a wee bit out of shape and it felt good to lube the creaking joints with w brisk walk uphill. Once on the top my mind expanded in all directions and took in the sight. I just knew you would have all complained loudly if I hadn’t shot a 360˚ panorama to illustrate the splendid view.

Neatly manicured lots with simple but colorful houses decorated the roadsides.  Vanua Levu’s central mountain range stood hazy blue in the background. I continued on along the winding gravel road, then took a shortcut across a pice of bush to get to another road further that would bring me down to the opposite end of town. A sizable tree with an apron of cascading flowers saw me coming downhill and with an unwritten sonnet and a non-intentional gesture coaxed me into passing her by.

The Earth’s beauty rang happily in the tempered trade winds and simple and friendly people with bright white smiles shining light on dark faces surrounded with wooly black hair brought bundles of fruit home from their gardens on a narrow winding path, seemingly oblivious to their ruthless government driving the country into the ground. But then we all are, each end every one of us, doing our share of that latter one! Looking the other way might be the least of our crimes.

One Response to “Still Around”

  1. Beatriz Restrepo Says:

    Bellisimo tu escrito como siempre. El arbol es espectacular y claro que hubiese querido estar contigo hay persiviendo todo esta naturaleza tan magistral. Cuidate mucho y sigue escribiendo hasta el infinito!!!!!

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