(Note: I will not be writing about the rest of my trip to Makira. It was a taxing but enjoyable trip but afterwards, I came down with a serious case of writers' block. Here is my attempt to get my writing groove back and share with you my wonderfuly, happy trip to Maravagi).
After returning to Makira, I was happy to spend some good old relaxing around the house and enjoying myself. However, peace simply would not find me. One morning, Priscella, my newly acquired chicken from the Weathercoast, decided that the laying boxes just weren't comfortable enough for her. She walked up the stairs whilst I was talking via Skype (I heart skype) in N.Z. And quickly walked down the hallway.
Not wanting to cut the conversation off, I let her roam around, thinking nothing of it. After the Skype conversation ended, I tried to find her. Not in the bathroom, so that left only one other place. My bedroom. I look around and there she is...sitting on my bed...no, wait...she actually is laying an egg...on my bed.
I am present for a chicken birth on my bed...I'm stunned and react quickly to try and get her off my bed. I know this sounds ungrateful to the beautiful gift of yummy goodness that Priscella is about to give me but I just can't stomach the idea of a home chicken birth on my bed. I make my move towards her and she squawks, angry at being disturbed. Feathers fly EVERYWHERE. She jumps on my digital piano and plays “Chicken dance” on the keys. There is more squawking and more feathers until finally, I grab her and put her out the front door. But she isn't done.
She comes back in (stupidly, I left the kitchen door open) and hops up on the kitchen table. I run downstairs and leap for her. She flys onto the kitchen bench and runs around, almost lighting herself on fire on the kitchen stove because Tessa is making espresso.
I grab her and she squawks loudly. We talk it out and she agrees to lays eggs outside. Until she stops laying at all. Sigh...my chickens are on strike...
Some other stuff happens in Honiara and I realise that I'm sort of over it. I'm tired; I haven't had a nice, good break from Honiara that was pure relaxation since February. And believe me, sometimes you just need a break from this city.
So when a couple of friends suggest a weekend's trip away to Maravaggi, I jump at it. Now, I didn't enjoy Maravaggi when I did a fly by visit there in February. It seemed dusty and run down and the hosts seemed unfriendly. But I am a big believer in giving people and places and experiences another chance. Recently, I even agreed to return to the Weathercoast...but I digress.
I pack up my now thoroughly travel tested bags and make my way to the yacht club one dismal looking Thursday morning. The weather didn't look nice but I didn't care. I was going to relax and unwind whether I wanted to or not.
Look, I'll be honest. The past four months haven't been sunshine and kittens; I've been through some rough stuff, both personally and professionally. I'm not pointing fingers, most of it I did to myself, which is the worst kind of suffering. There has been a distinct lack of...fun and swagger in my life. I needed to get my groove back and fast because no one wants to hang out with the girl from Sad Town. I didn't want to hang out with the girl from Sad Town and its pretty bad when you don't even want to hang out with yourself.
So, it rained. A lot. I listened to my MP3 player (thank you Henry Binns and Black Keys) and enjoyed the nice swell. I tried not to be miserable. I tried to enjoy it. I didn't enjoy it. But I survived it, like so many experiences I have lately, the best I can say is that I survived it.
But I wanted to do more than survive something so when the boat came up to jetty at Maravagi, I jumped out of the back torture device/transportation tool and jumped into the warm water of the Solomon Sea. With all my clothes on. In the rain.
My friends, thinking I had gone mad, shrugged and followed me in. We stayed, chatted and instantly bonded more than before. It was like a baptism, a new commitment to be better and challenge myself to not just experience but to enjoy. I would say yes to everything, even the stuff I didn't want to do. I committed to myself to enjoy the dry, dusty, unwelcoming Maravagi.
And enjoy I did...
The day was rainy...so I took a nap. I found that while I wanted to enjoy everything, I was deeply tired. So instead of a one hour nap, I slept for four. I woke up just in time for dinner to be served. I always order fish in the Solomons because...well its what they do best. Pork is pretty fatty and well I just like fish.
The two little reef fish look up at me, fried on the plate. I eat them, heads and all. Now, I know that eating fish heads is not everyone's cup of tea but I made a promise to myself that I would learn how. A lovely fellow taught me back in November how to do it and I've been rocking on it ever since. This fish is tasty and the food nice and basic. The host is still pretty unfriendly but everything is clean and tidy.
My bungalow faces out towards the ocean. Its a lovely room with three beds (I guess just in case). The only minor drawback is that the bungalow is shared, with only the barest of walls between myself and another guest. The other guest, who will remain nameless, was pretty good about my typical 2 a.m. wakeup time and any other noises I make. I, in turn, yell over the barrier at night to “turn over” when he is snoring.
In the morning, I wake up early. Like 5:30 a.m. Early. I sit and watch the sunrise. I yoga. I write in my journal. I think really deep thoughts. I do all kinds of terribly healthy stuff. I get bored waiting for the friends to wake up.
I walk over to the jetty and look down. The jetty is about two metres above the water and I look in, admiring the crystal clear quality of the water. A large school of reef fish permanently swarm around the jetty. I wonder what it would be like to jump in. I've never jumped off a jetty before. I chicken out.
To save a bit of cash, we self cater breakfast and then head off on our first snorkeling adventure. Maravagi is known for its beautiful reefs and my heart pounds slightly as I follow my mate Homer out of the shallows and to the edge of the reef. As we draw closer the reef takes on a much more multihued quality, leaving the brown and grays behind. Oranges, greens, and pinks come into view and brightly colour fish swim around in large schools. Little silver fish swim around me and when the sun hits the water, I fill like I entered an underwater disco.
And then, I spot it. The edge. Nothing but blue...and then...darkness. I look down and spot a reef shark hanging out below us. My first shark encounter. I marvel at how beautiful the animal is, perfect from 300 million years of evolution. The fish swim calmly around it; they know its not looking for a snack.
We hang out, fighting against the different currents for about two hours. I swim past the shelf and into the blue, trying my best not be terrified. Look, us yanks don't always have the best relationships with water. The ocean is where Jaws comes from, and stingy things that killed Steve Irwin. The sea is not my friend, it is a place to be feared. And yet with my recent dive training, I've come to try and make peace with the sea. So I try to float, live in the moment and enjoy.
It works, partially and by the time I sit on the white sandy beach, I feel a slight movement of energy, a wee glow of happiness inside.
I feel the groove starting to come back...