Hello again from the Big Blue!
(Today’s Coconut Chronicle is a musical. This is what happens when you buy an iPod and listen to the Chicago soundtrack while you clean huts, for six months.)
He had it comin’, he had it comin’, he had it comin’ all along. If you’d have been there, if you’d have seen it, how could you tell me that I was wrong?
On May 21, our dear friend Tim “Ripster” Rippel stood on top of the world! He now adds a much deserved Mt. Everest summit to a long list of peaks and other mountaineering achievements. Along with the Ripster, six of his clients, and seven of his Sherpas also reached the summit. Not without it’s drama (I spent most of the 21st on MSN Messenger, talking with Beckster and biting my nails down to the nub), including a high altitude rescue attempt, this climb has demonstrated to me, (as if I had doubts), what a first class human being the Ripster really is. CONGRATULATIONS TIM!!!
Andrew Brash (left) and Tim Rippel (photo taken from Andrew’s website)
Got a little motto, always sees me through, ‘when you’re good to Momma, Momma’s good to you’.
We have been very spoiled lately. First Helmi arrived with loads of goodies. Next Big Sis’s wayward package finally arrived. Holy cow, the things a person can do with a vacuum sealer! We now have a spice for every occasion, Prez is rolling in licorice, our poor USB port has been saved by an add on, I have maps for novel research, the Tiger Sauce supply is topped up, I have new music to listen to, and much, much more. Then Mom’s package arrived a few days later with more dark chocolate, more licorice, and lots of other treats – even a fridge magnet of BOB, (Nelson’s Big Orange Bridge). Thank you, thank you, thank you! We are grateful and humble. Not sure what we will bring home in return…hmm, how do you feel about coconuts?
How you feeling?
Are you sorry?
Are you kidding?
How could I forget to tell you all about our diving adventure a few Sundays ago? It was a textbook day – sunny, dry, light breeze – so Prez and I threw diving and fishing gear into the boat and headed off for some alone time on our favorite playground, the ocean. Our first dive was not only fun but also practical…we had to retrieve the anchor Prez lost a few weeks back, (oops). Anyway, we found the anchor in record time and then continued on exploring the depths. Beautiful.
We spent our surface interval eating, lounging, and fishing. As usual, the seabirds were up to their old tricks, trying to fool us into thinking there were tuna around, but all we hooked was one skipjack.
The second dive was in an amazing section of coral canyons Prez has named “The Five Fingers”. The underwater topography of this spot is breathtaking, and the two giant Humphead Wrasse (about 5ft long) we saw just before heading to the surface were worth the extra effort of donning all the gear, weights, etc. Satisfied with a good dive, we made our way up the anchor chain, pausing fifteen feet below the surface for our safety stop (this is where your body rids itself of excess nitrogen). Then we let go and started a slow swim to the boat. That’s when I saw the shark.
About three feet below me, a long, dark shape, (maybe ten feet from head to tail), slowly circled. I looked over at Prez and put a knife-edge hand to my forehead – a bit of diver’s sign language meaning “Big thing with pointy teeth directly below”. I’d like to tell you I was Triple C (Calm, Cool, Collected), and I really thought I was until I realized, in the excitement, I’d gone to the side of the boat without a ladder and now I was trying to climb aboard with forty pounds of gear on me. Oops.
Now you all know I am pro-shark. And let’s be honest, if Mr. Fin was anything more than curious, I would be in bitty pieces right now. But there’s something surreal about having one of the big bruisers sniffing you out while you bob on the surface like a wounded seal. My Spock brain was saying, “Oh look, isn’t that fascinating! I wonder what species it is? Well, no markings, so not a Tiger. Not a white or black tip either. The nose is quite rounded. Hmmm.” My Lizard brain was screaming, “Oh my god!!! Get in the boat!!! Big thing with pointy teeth!!! It’s going to eat us!!!” While my amygdala was in the middle, trying to restore order, “OK, Spock, I appreciate your observations but we really should get on the boat. Lizard, calm down, the shark does not want to eat you, stop crying.”
Back on the boat, Prez and I watched Mr. Fin do a few more lazy circles then swim off. Though my heart was jack-hammering the inside of my chest, I felt really privileged to have seen him. And the martini that evening tasted, really, really good!
…that funny, sunny, honey, hubby of mine.
We went for a nice long stroll along our local scavenger’s beach the other day. You know, if you ever mysteriously lose a shoe, and you look everywhere but still have no idea where it could have gone, well, I think I know where it is…
Why are there so many shoes in the ocean? Shoes, plastic bottles, rope, bits of metal of uncertain origin, plastic crates, you name it, you can find it on a beach. Prez is in the process of turning one of our FAD’s (Fish Attracting Devices) into an underwater metropolis by tying all sorts of odds and ends to it. Scavenger’s beach was a gold mine for such detritus (trash) and he also wins this week’s Scootie Award!
All I care about is doin’ the guy in who’s pickin on you, twistin’ the wrist that’s turnin’ the screw. All I care about is love!
Our walk on Scavenger’s beach did not start on a good note, however. We found a poor little Tern that some… (watch your language, Princess)…idiot had tied to a rock. We freed him and I think he’ll be OK but I’d love to find the…idiot who did that, tie him to a rock, and leave him on a beach to die. Ditto for the…idiot who comes around our property at night to steal our hermit crabs for fish bait. Urgh!
And speaking of the environment…
Give ’em the old three ring circus, stun and stagger ’em. When you’re in trouble, go into your dance. Though you are stiffer than a girder, they’ll let you get away with murder.
Yesterday we went to yet another, “lots of talk, no action” tourism meetings. This one was a big hoo ha, with the Mayor that… (Princess, watch your language)…beacon of society, and other big wigs in attendance. The first fellow to speak actually blew my mind because the first thing he said is that the Aitutaki environment is the number one problem that needs to be addressed and the entire lagoon should be made into a protected area. HUH?! Is someone in power actually paying attention??
We realized, pretty quickly, that the environment was just smokescreen, a breadcrumb to appease us, so they could move onto their real issue: Should they allow flights on Sunday? Believe it or not, this is a hot topic here. Never mind that there are shops, restaurants, and resorts that are already open for business on Sunday, never mind that many of the so-called good Christian folks spend half their Sunday pie-eyed in the bush, or that Sunday flights ran for eight years with no problems, the fact of the matter is God hates airplanes. Duh. The argument of the pro-Sunday-flights camp centers on Aitutaki’s sagging tourism/economy. They fail to see that one more plane load, per week, is hardly going to remedy the situation, particularly when those tourists are going to go home and tell everyone about the dead coral and lack of fish.
But, being a papa’a, (foreigner), I was a very good Princess and kept my mouth tightly sealed…for now.
I run so fast a shotgun blast can hurt me not one bit. I’m on my toes, ‘cause heaven knows, a moving target’s hard to hit!
After six long, sweaty months, when even thinking hard was tiring, the weather has cooled and I have started to run again! Well, “run” may be pushing it. Jog? Fast walk? Ok, ok, slow shuffle. But it sure feels good to be active again!
Well, that’s plenty for this week. Hope you enjoyed the ramble…and all that jazz.
No, I’m no one’s wife
But, Oh, I love my life
And all that Jazz!
(Yeah, yeah, I am someone’s wife but the lyrics are copyrighted, so what can I do?)
Ooo, one more thing, (shameless plug), I have recently had a short story published in Storyteller Magazine. Well, that issue is now on the shelves! It’s a Canadian mag so may be hard to find south of the border but back home you might be able to track it down at Chapters. Anyway, buy it, read it, write copious letters to the editor proclaiming my literary genius! (Well, I’d just be happy if you read it.) You can read a little blurb about the story and my bio on their website.
Until next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy, and lovin’ life!