There are many reasons why I do not want to leave Suwarrow. There are the positive reasons: this place is bitchin', I have lots of friends here, there is always something cool to do; and the negative reasons: many of the boats that arrived in the past two days have described 15-20 foot seas, very squally, windy, and all around nasty conditions. Not very reassuring. Neither is the fact that I can see the ocean outside the reef and it looks choppy, confused and menacing, while the tranquil waters of the lagoon whisper to me to stay forever. I keep saying that if there were surf here I would stay forever - never mind hurricane season.
In all seriousness, this is one of the most special places I have ever been, and most people who come here agree. Our friends on Songline arrived two days ago but had a very rough trip so we sent them many emails of encouragement while they were en route. When they got here they said, "Yea, we thought you guys had gone off the deep end with all your mushy gushy emails about how great it is here, but... I get it now." Yes, I guess this is the kind of place that you have to experience in person to fully understand. I won't sugar coat it - it sucks getting here and it sucks leaving here, but being here is so worth it.
My friend Annette likes to play a game at the close of an event or day: Best, Worst and Funniest. I would say the best part of being here was learning - learning the ways of the coconut, learning how to free dive deeper, how to collect and eat clams from the reef or how to use hermit crabs as bait, learning how to cope being swarmed by sharks or searching for lobster on the reef at midnight. I did not encounter the willingness of the locals (in part due perhaps to the language barrier) in French Polynesia to teach me so much, and I am so thankful/stoked for my experiences here.
The funniest part of being here (save worst for last) was a jam session that went down at a pot-luck here a few nights ago. I was playing guitar with an Aussie guy, Lars was on the harmonica, and John - the sweetest, 300 pound Rarotongan guy you will ever meet (who also happened to be completely hammered) - was freestyling and playing the spoons. He is normally the shy type, but with a little help from Jack Daniels he was coming up with all sorts of crazy lyrics pertaining to Suwarrow, Yachties, drinking, and the island life in general. Something clicked in all of us and we were all laughing and rocking our socks off for hours. Maybe you had to be there, but it was certainly a highlight for me.
The worst part of being here (as always) is leaving. I hate it. I hate saying good bye to people and places I have come to love over the past few days (I know it sounds shallow, but considering the circumstances... ) knowing I will probably never see them again. What a heartache. But you might ask: is it worth it? And I would say: hell yes. You know how the saying goes: better to have loved and left than never to have loved at all.
Perhaps I am being a bit dramatic. Perhaps I am being totally incoherent. All I know is that tomorrow we leave the blissful comfort of this little piece of paradise and head out for the big, almighty and powerful ocean. Next stop: American Samoa.
At 8/2/2011 7:22 AM (utc) Rutea's position was 13°14.88'S 163°06.47'W
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