Greetings from not-Nauru!
Isn’t the drive home the toughest part of any road trip? The same proved for the return passage on the boat. This week was a testament to the fact that travel isn’t all sunshine and selfies.
The week started with checking out of Pohnpei on Monday. I had started to feel an allergic reaction on Sunday, during the waterfall hike. Because I’m so smooth and graceful, I actually got distracted on the trail, probing my swelling face and rolled my ankle and fell flat on my newly cushioned face on the trail full of rocks. I was cut up and bruised, but the waterfall well made up for it (see last week’s card). I took Benadryl throughout the pig roast and thought I was on the mend, only to wake up Monday morning with my face so swollen I could barely see, ears twice normal size and rashes on my arms. I wasn’t too worried since the reaction was only topical, but seeing as we were headed to sea, I headed first to the clinic. I was given a 3-a-day regimen of Benadryl and restricted to a hypo-allergenic diet (basically water and nothing). Great. So we checked out and set to sea, with me in the corner looking like an extra from Requim for a Dream, scratching my arms and face off, waiting for my next fix of Benadryl.
Then, the seas were not in our favor. Not dangerous, but tempestuous and nasty enough to make keeping medicine down a challenge. Good news is I didn’t have trouble keeping my new diet, given I couldn’t stomach eating anything. By Wednesday the seas were calming and things were looking up. I even ate an apple.
Then, clanking sounds. Uh oh. We got tangled up in discarded line – about 300 feet of it. Fucking tuna boats. It was caught in the stabilizer fins, so those had to be disabled as we pulled all this line in (to bring to port and dispose of properly, like responsible adults), which even required the captain putting a scuba tank on to go cut it out.
Clear! Phew. We got moving again and spent the next few hours putting the boat back together from everything that got tossed without the stabilizers. The night went fine and as my watch ended at 6 am, I could barely sleep knowing we were just hours away from the least visited country in the world (ooooohhhh).
We approached the tiny tiny island Thursday morning and called port authority. No answer. Called again, no answer. Went up and down the coast, looking for anywhere that the waves weren’t breaking across the reef where a boat could safely enter. Called port authority again. Things weren’t looking good. We knew it was tough to get in by boat, but port authority is supposed to help. Considering the direction of the waves, it’s likely no one was working, knowing no boats could come in (and given the aforementioned amount of visitors, the depth of the water making it impossible to anchor and general lack of facilities, they likely don’t see cruisers). We even considered if there was any way to get the boat close enough that I could swim in safely. The decision was made. This would not be the day I visit Nauru. Damn, and I could have slept in.
So course was set further South to return to Fiji. 3 more days at sea. Icing on the cake is that Spotify logged itself out on my phone, so I have no music until I can connect. I got so bored on my night watches that, and this is embarrassingly true, I began color-commentating my Solitaire games in my head to make them more exciting (think ESPN Ocho from Dodgeball).
As we crossed the equator, we were sure to give Neptune his due offering, hoping for a turn in luck. I took the sunset in the photo as a good sign. You reading this means we’re safely back in Fiji, so it’s all part of the journey. But I’ve definitely had “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from the Life of Brian playing on repeat in my head this week.