The tropics are hot and humid. That’s no news to you or me. Almost daily since Kandu dropped lower than the latitude of Puerto Vallarta, my face drips off around five times. I’ve discovered the importance of eyebrows. Most of the time they keep stinging, salty sweat from dripping into and torturing my eyes. My complexion is a bit of a mess too. Also, instead of using commercial anti-perspirants, we use fresh squeezed organic limejuice to kill the odor causing bacteria from under our arms. Now I notice unpleasant scents within just 20 minutes after cleaning. Ugh!
While living afloat in the near 90-degree seawater of Taiohae Bay you can imagine how much we look forward to the cooling off sensation at nightfall. Now that the four of us are acclimated to the warm temperatures, we actually enjoy the feeling of feeling cold around 4:00 am in the morning. At that early hour, the engine, the stove or cooktop, and the exterior of the boat have completely cooled off. However, one place on the boat that cools down more quickly than any other is the foredeck. After sunset, by 7:30 p.m., condensation typically starts to build which provides a slick place to hang out and cool before heading to bed. Even if my clothes get a little wet, the refrigeration effect is pleasant and the fresh water dries quickly.
Once I’m finished cooking dinner, all the while sweating profusely, we enjoy family time: sharing conversation over dinner, perhaps finishing a movie, or playing a card game. After family time, I pack away the leftovers. Then when the night sky is clear, I meander topside to the bow. I lay facing upwards to gaze at the sky and ponder the day, the themes of a book I’m reading, the future, the universe, the beautiful lights, or God. Sometimes I’m accompanied by Trent. He and I quietly chat about school, family issues, boat work, or about a strategic move he organized during his allotted time to play video games on the Internet at the local wharf café, “Snack Vaeaki,” otherwise known as “Chez Henri.” This is a favorite part of my day. Our heads practically touch on the foredeck. Sometimes I search for his hand and hold it while we talk. The boat rocks to and fro, or up and down like a seesaw.
When alone, I simply gaze around me and contemplate the beauty of the evening, whether the sky is clear or somewhat overcast. I search for Orion. I wonder what my loved ones might be doing back in California; if they contemplated the moon before going to bed that night – the same full moon that shines here so brightly out of the dark that it actually pains my eyes to look at it. Every time I gaze over the black night water I see a fairy’s dance of anchor lights, as if suspended in mid-air, the tops of boat masts swaying each way. If any of you have ever enjoyed or remember Anaheim Disneyland’s Peter Pan ride, you know what I mean when I tell you that it feels like I’m drifting among the stars. Like the celebrated California Adventure ride “California Souring” smells of the island waft in the air sometimes heavy with flower, or simply fragrances of fresh greenery and the heavy scent of fresh earth. The smell of the ocean has so permeated my nose now that I actually no longer smell the salt and green algae of the sea. And to top all this wonder, on weekends or holidays, popular Polynesian music often drifts over from the shoreline from speakers, accompanied by the laughter of partygoers on the beach. The shore is far enough away that the sounds are never too loud, just pleasantly charming heard only from top deck. Once one descends inside the boat’s interior space, exterior noises are hardly noticeable. If there is no music, my ears are alert to the sounds of waves crashing, water tickling the boat, or even jumping fish. The sound of little schools of pointy nosed fish jumping out of the water is intriguing; much like the sound of an American Indian rain stick. I speculate whether a larger fish may be chasing them or if they jump in response to light emanating from a passing car’s headlights.
There are times when the day was so hot, humid, and my time spent busy with boat repairs and various land activities that I actually fall asleep on the hard cool deck that slants outward toward the water. I rarely bring a pillow, so my head lolls back and forth generally in the direction of the water and likely my neck ends up in a crooked, uncomfortable position. At that point discomfort alerts me to get up and go to bed. By that time, I’m sufficiently cooled off. I meander down stairs, into the Kandu’s interior living space, drink a glass of water to rehydrate from all the day’s sweating, brush my teeth, and sleep soundly . . . that is, unless it starts to rain, whereby all the open hatches and port lights must be closed and the sauna of the interior living space steams up again!