Friday, August 22, 2008

Shiriri Saga #45. Tropical Dawn in Tahiti.

Sometime just before dawn I wake and step on deck for a look around: something I do at least a couple of times a night, even at anchor in a now peaceful lagoon. My sleep patterns have adjusted so well to watches at sea that the old ideal of all night oblivion is an almost distasteful memory from a previous life.

All is well around us as Shiriri tugs gently at her anchor chain among the bright stars that reflect back from the calm water. High up on the dark hillside a bonfire etches palms against it`s flickering glare. Drifting down from the heights is the sound of a Tahitian popular song featuring ukeleles and blended female voices. An all night party is still going on in the predawn hours.

It is such a magical moment that I sit on the cabin top and suck it all in: the firelight behind the palms, the evocative music, the velvety tropic air redolent with the scents of the islands. I sit quietly over the next twenty minutes as the dawn comes flooding over the mountains, and down the hillside almost as quickly as the wind storm of a few days before. The first outrigger canoe of the morning breaks my reverie as it passes close by, beginning it`s practice run for the Bastille Day celebrations just a few weeks away. I step below to make the first morning cup of tea.

I have read many books of the south seas and spoken to some who sailed through these islands years ago and the message is that they are not like the good old days and I know that this must be true as it is of all places and times. I know this, and yet I`ve just had a timeless experience of dawn in a tropical anchorage that has spoken directly to my emotions. There are no second hand experiences to be found in this life we are leading now. There are no filters. All those wild ocean dawns that say that we have survived the night are present now too in this moment of tender sweetness that welcomes me to another day in Tahiti.

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