Friday, August 2, 2013

Mongoose, Canoe Plants, and Water Rats

I saw a sea turtle! Two, actually, one on the beach and one in the water I have also eaten dragon fruit. I preferred seeing the turtles. The dragon fruit is best eaten with mango and pineapple, as it tastes like slightly musky sea water.
This morning's kayaking put me into a zone. I am happiest when I am on the water. There is no doubt about it. Plus, the guides were a familiar sort, cheerful, talkative, water rats, and I mean that only in the best way. I have a feeling that a water rat and a surfer are kin. These guys were a blend of the two.

The other thing that made me happy was to meet a bunch of people. They were from New York and Kentucky, the ones that I talked to. So far this week, I've met people from Louisiana, Connecticut, New York, Kentucky, Hawaii, and California. The woman from Kentucky liked to paint. The couple from New York were beautiful people who were against the cultural trend to make everything about youth and beauty.

Oh, I can go on. I wish I were more demure, but I really do like talking to people.

First, the guides took us out to a breaker. It was amazing, to face a wave, even a small one, and slap down on the other side. I wanted to play there. In the crashing water, I couldn't hear a thing. I thought we were headed across the bay to the next point, so I was up ahead, ready to take on the next curl when we got there, but one of the guides came and rounded me up. A wayward duckling. Even Nick kept with the group better than I did.

It turned out that we turned around and noodled around in the bay the whole time, but they said there were fifteen nesting pair of turtles on that beach. It didn't take them long to find one and I struggled to keep from bumping other people's boats out of the way so that I could see.

Finally, after almost a whole week in Hawaii, I saw a green turtle. It was breathtaking. Someone asked how old it was and the guide with the long curly blond hair said about fifty years.

These guys had so much to tell us, about the nesting habits of the turtles. They told us bout how the mongoose was brought here to eat rats, only mongoose don't eat rats. They eat snakes and there are no snakes on Hawaii. So what do these poor buggers eat? They told us about a couple of plants you could eat. One tasted of sea water. The other, the canoe plant, was good for your joints. I ate a flower. I didn't feel any effect on my joints. By afternoon, I would need the real deal, Ibuprofen. The Polynesians brought the canoe plant with them when they came. The guides told us how they brought only the strongest people on the trip, how they navigated by the stars, how they killed anyone who was not strong enough to go on, and how they carried all of their water on the voyage with them. Can you imagine paddling thousands of miles and not knowing where you were headed? True explorers.

Oh, I've got the stories all gummed up.

We saw a beached turtle. They snacked us up on pineapple, and walked us over to the WWII bunker where the soldiers first saw the Japanese planes that bombed Pearl Harbor, and then, we got back into the boats and they showed us how to paddle standing up. I had trouble getting up the way they said and ended up facing the back of my boat. I wasn't going to try to turn around and just paddled around that way. It was fun, but it took me a minute to find my sea legs. The trick is to bend your knees and use them as shock absorbers.

By the time we were done, my shoulders were sore and I felt high. Oh, I don't like a drug-induced high, I can tell you, but give me an endorphin rush on the water any day. I was. I was high. I could have noodled around in those boats all day. I didn't care if we didn't actually go anywhere.

Thank you for listening, jb


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