When I awoke I couldn’t stop sneezing. My allergies were in full force. It took some time for me to figure out what was causing all the sneezing. I finally realized that it was the dust in the mosquito netting. Every time I moved while I slept more dust would fall on me. I took the netting outside and hung it on the line to let the breeze blow through it and get all the dust off. Problem solved! Although I did continue to sneeze for the remainder of the day.
I made a breakfast of eggs, coffee, and guava juice. I do not love instant coffee – it is a huge sacrifice for me not to have my French press here with me. But on missions trips I have had much worse, and have been very appreciative even when it tasted like mud. So when I look at the beauty that surrounds me here, I decide that I can adjust.
After breakfast I strolled around the island with yet another cup of coffee. Surprisingly, the tree was still smoldering even after the rain storm the night before. I decided that the fire inside this tree must be incredibly hot and intense and that it must have been burning for quite some time. I just needed to be unconcerned. At this point I began to refer to it as the “fire tree”. Molly and I joked about throwing a crab on the fire for my lunch. I found a conch shell on the beach today. It was uninhabited so I brought it back to the house and added it to the collection left there by other visitors to the island.
When walking through rather than around the island, we need to be sure to look up and see what might be raining down on us. Coconuts are everywhere on the island, falling at will from the many palm trees –all day and all night. They make such a loud thud when they land that I am surprised by how loud the sound is. But then I realize that there is little other sound out here, just the waves, the birds, and the coconuts falling. There are no boats that go by, no planes that fly overhead, no music, no television. It is very, very quiet.
In the states, we are so used to seeing coconuts in the market with their outer shells removed. But they are really huge when you see them still wearing this outer shell and I am determined to open one before I leave this place.
Around lunchtime, Molly makes an attempt at calling Barry on the 2-way for our daily check-in to let them know we are okay. After several attempts we have no luck with getting a response from them. We tried several times throughout the day and joked that we were pretty much screwed if we had a real emergency.
Snorkeling today was another amazing experience. We found more wondrous areas of the coral reef. We saw parrot fish nipping at the algae on the coral, barracuda and trumpet fish, and countless other amazingly beautiful fish. I swam with a school of what seemed like millions of itty bitty fish. I swam out to the abyss; the place where the coral reef ends and the bottom disappears and the water gets very dark. It is here where Molly said that I was most likely to see rays, turtles, or sharks. I stayed there for quite a while hoping to catch sight of one of these amazing creatures, with no luck. I came back here along the edges of the abyss again and again, but each time I was too chicken to go out too far for fear that I would come face to face with a shark or some other big sea creature and not know how to get away fast enough. Near the reef I at least had a chance to hide, but in the abyss there is nowhere to hide. Contrary to my normal approach to life, my risk/reward calculation was far too conservative and as a result I never saw anything other than a jellyfish in the abyss. This has since become a great source of regret, but one that I will some day rectify by heading back out to the abyss and lingering for quite a bit longer and venturing out quite a bit deeper.
A lot of people have asked me about the bugs on the island. The mosquitoes here are vicious day and night. They bite Molly constantly, but for the most part they leave me alone. The closer I stick to her, the fewer issues that I have with the little buggers. Flies are somewhat relentless in the kitchen as the day heats up, but are fewer in the evening. On this particular day I saw what I was convinced was a brown recluse spider, I freaked out and crushed it into about 20 little pieces and thinking he might have friends – resolved to just forget I ever saw him. Well, he did have friends, and once I got a closer look at them realized they weren’t brown recluse at all, but I still didn’t spare their wretched little lives.
When it got dark, we very extravagantly turned on a light in the living room to read by. I quickly fell asleep and napped while Molly made a delicious dinner of rice and red beans. We ate by candle light and then watched the sky as the thunder and lighting rolled in with another storm. I was relieved whenever it rained at night because I knew that we would have water in the tank the next day for showers, cooking, and flushing. We again switched from solar to wind power and were off to bed and under our mosquito netting by 9:00 PM. With the help of some Benadryl, I was off to sleep shortly thereafter dreaming about parrotfish and sharks.