Bait for Breakfast
Back in the islands, the cyclone season dwindled to a thankfully uneventful close. Swell had sprouted sea ‘roots’ after nearly 2 months in the same rolly bay. Algae swayed on Swell’s waterline, while resident bait fish circled below. Mornings would begin with the sound of thrashing water near the hull–a tuna or the likes–chasing the baitball into a frenzy such that a dozen or so would leap upon Swell’s deck! First to rise would chase down our flapping-flopping little bait buddies, thank them for their lives, gut them and toss them into the pan with a spoonful of butter. Breakfast!! YUM! Lower food chain delicacy!
But the time had come to cast our thoughts toward the next horizon. It took three days of algae scrubbing to free Swell, Miti Miti, and her anchor gear from the extraneous greenery. The crabs and mini shrimp crawled in our ears and pinched when they got stuck under my swimsuit. Our bait friends and the teenage jacks scored an easy meal, darting amongst the newly freed algae clouds. I dove down the anchor line…down, down, down to 50 feet and hovered there in the sand…the sounds of the seabed crackled and hummed in my equalized eardrums. I was gonna miss this place.
We made rounds of goodbyes through the valley over a few days–always proportionally more difficult the longer the stay. We loaded up the mountain of fruit and parting gifts, but no treasure was greater than the friendships and love we’d been given there. I would miss the kids too much…their purity was my daily refuge.
On the morning of departure, they waved madly from the rocks on the shoreline. I paraded Swell a few times round the bay, blared the fog horn, then pointed the bow to sea behind watery eyes…
Not too far away–and yet a world apart–we pulled Swell into a narrow, silty bay. A rivermouth cut through the west end of a blacksand beach and rocky cliffs climbed skyward on both sides. Astonished, we watched waves peel down both sides of the cliffs! The roaring NE trades were making waves…A leap from Swell and a short paddle found us looking over the ledges of a ledgy little right hander…
I’d harvested enough watercress for a few more precious salads–a bonus on top of the unexpected surf. The valley was wild and empty, except for a few wild goats and horses we spotted wandering around the rugged rocky slopes. Raiarii learned to splice 3-strand rope and fixed our chaffed stern anchor rode. Subtly, the voyage transformed into its next phase, and the newness of getting underway again felt as good as it had two months prior, to toss the anchor and get settled…A time for everything I suppose.
Bob FrancisAugust 23, 2012
Glad to see you back on course! Great breakfast like that is the most healthy anyway. Predator fish less healthy. Lead us all further on your voyage. Congrats to you guys for such a wonderful lifestyle and commitment to the pure.
CourtneyAugust 23, 2012
That sounds lovely. The breakfast I mean, not having to scrape the aquarium off Swell’s bottom. Of course that water looks inviting for swimming.
Kerry MettertAugust 28, 2012
I just caught up to the present on your blog. You have challenged me to be more thoughtful about the environment and the stewardship of it. I one day would like to experience the South Pacific islands and atolls that you wrote about. I hope the awareness you are raising will help to protect these areas to be enjoyed by those who go their to experience the kind of things you did. Right now I am caught on land in Westfield, Indiana but look forward to the day I will be sailing to this area of the world. Looknig forward to learning about your next adventures!
Tom SantanielloSeptember 16, 2012
WHERE’S LIZ ???????????????????
JerrySeptember 17, 2012
Yes Tom, I am wondering the same thing too. The bait for breakfast is a bit stale. I’m needing an island story fix. Hope she is ok.