Kim's take on things. 13:56.28S 147:52.29W

Alex Belmont
Sat 20 Aug 2011 23:44
The crossing.
Boat lag: When days stretch out endlessly or are consumed instantly. Our three hour watches roll around and around again, as we are tossed across boundless seas and sunburned horizons. I’m hard pressed to remember what month it is, let alone week, day or hour. We exist in a world of books, star wars and canasta as we flaunt our endless proud variations on instant mashed potatoes and ramen noodles.
Boat lag: It’s adjusting to chaos... inside with the stink of onions and rotten cabbage dripping down the bathroom wall. A broken door creaking away, sink full of dishes and leaking. Bed wet, clothes wet and cushions wet. Candy wrappers, crackers, a suitcase, rice bucket and protein mix scattered across the floor to leeward. Bodies sprawled on beds like a life raft, as the boat tosses and tosses and tosses under overcast skies. This is not the day where the sea calms or the wind is steady under sunny skies. Nor is it the day where we bake cakes, clean up, have showers, do laundry or dry beds and catch fish. Nope, not today. That may well be tomorrow. Today our armpits are where fairies go to die.
Oh Lordy, these seas are razed and confused, night a puddle, body abused. The moon has ducked behind a cloud for a cigarette and it’s just me and the glowing compass, dancing the midnight mazurka, blindly stumbling over waves... drowning under sky.
Boat lag: Tom calls it a diet for the mind. A month long journey through every dappled memory you can recall. A calmness. A restlessness. That incredible bliss that hits you out of nowhere one midnight in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, doing seven knots under infinite stars, dancing while all are sleeping, arms outstretched, head tilted back in wonder.
After thirty days at sea... oh boy you crackle and turn to salt. You liquefy, reflecting galaxies... distilled away to pure essences. When the sky cries ‘child, humble thyself’ and the sea says ‘child exalt thyself..’ only the horizon remains indifferent.
Then you arrive. After thirty-two days of dodging hurricanes, bashing into lumpy seas against the wind, sunshine and squalls and endless rotations of watches… out of nowhere these giants of islands interrupt what has been an unbroken line of horizon, land breeze hits you in the face and birds are suddenly everywhere.
We sail into the bay of Nuku Hiva at dawn, light playing off inconceivable cliffs, dolphins leading us into the bay.. 'The islands we had dreamed of rose from the sea like the morning sun. The rising sun glowed red to the east, and the first Marquesas Island was pale blue, like the shadows of fingers on the northern horizon. Steep, rugged, and menacing, the mountain masses hurled themselves ever higher as we sailed on, until they were soaring like rock fortresses high above the ocean. Tumbling, frothing, and rumbling like a distant thunderstorm, the endless sea beat wildly against these fixed obstacles in a world of living water...Incredible pinnacles stood out of the water like a cluster of reversed icicles, but as we came nearer, their colour changed to a warm jungle green. As the schooner stood in still closer, we seemed to be approaching ruins of a sea girt castle, with wisps of cloud sailing around the towers like smoke..'
Thor Heyderahl – Fatu Hiva
Nuku Hiva is a dream... proud tattooed men and women, jungle rampant, waterfalls, jagged mountain tops, villages spotlessly clean and covered with flowers. We spent some days in paradise; .a little bay, circled by cliffs all around. Ten families living in a veritable garden of Eden, laden with grapefruit, pawpaw, bananas, citrus, pumpkin vines and cassava patches and overrun with frangipani, hibiscus, bougainvillea. Little palm covered streams abounded finding their way seawards from one of the largest waterfalls in the world. As we made friends, they gave us fifty grapefruit bigger than your head, a dozen pawpaw, breadfruit, huge bunches of bananas, water, limes, a bag of salted pork. They truly live like kings, and for a few blissful days we got to share that feeling. They spent their days spent fishing, gardening, hunting pig and goat… many of them are actually monetarily wealthy but chose to leave their cars, houses in town to live in a spacious three walled hut with an outside fireplace surrounded by family and the valley their ancestors have lived in forever.
LikeThor says their 'recipe for happiness was to be found at its very source: within themselves. If the environment had facilitated their search it could be crystalised in one word: simplicity. Simplicity had given them what millions of others searched for through complexity and progress. An old man's requirement, his world, was a tiny shack in a vegetable plot. Neither a cave in the wilderness nor a castle in a park.
Simplicity is indeed another magic word, denoting something so modest it is easy to step over in all its unpretentious greatness. Progress can today also be defined as man’s ability to complicate simplicity. Nothing in all the procedure that 'modern' man, helped by 'modern' middle men, goes through before he earns money to buy a fish or a potato will ever be as simple as pullig it out of the water or the soil.'
So, we've left the Marquesas now, and we're sailing past the Tuamotu archipelago, on our way to Tahiti. We’ll have to make an unscheduled stop there as tom has a minor health problem and needs to make a pit stop at the hospital. We'll also visit some family he has in Moorea, before taking to sea again and make our way to an isolated atoll called Suvarov in the Cook islands.
With love to you all, kim and the crew.