Travel is Love


White Tern

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Travel is like falling in love

new, unconsummated love

crooning love

love like the first glimpse of a Marquesan island

before the anchorage becomes rolly

or the tiny population shares a dose of their chronic strep throat

like a Central American jungle before you try to enter

and find that every tree, bush, wild house plant has thorns

crawls with ants that bite like a son-of-a-bitch

white sand beach love, faintly rosy with crushed coral

a place where you dream of living forever

a place where you might become homicidally bored

a place before 

imperfect personalities, awkward intercourse

young hearts, seafarers, learning when to pull up anchor

But I think

love is not just a beating heart

love is often found in thorny jungles

on white sand beaches with sand flies

it is found in patience and acceptance, 

love is arriving at the same island over and over

with wonder and a racing heart

Travel should be like that. 




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Found this Acanthaster (venomous Crown of Thorns Starfish) while snorkeling in 10′ of water off our boat.
They voraciously eat coral and are considered a scourge


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These two were in less than 1′ of water and as I approached, one octopus reached out to ‘hold’ the other


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 I feel the same way when I get my hands on lettuce – don’t worry buddy, I’m just admiring you!


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This small white tern lays its eggs on bare thin branches in a fork or depression without a nest.


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On Otekareva where we anchored with the cat Golden Glow

A grandmother, mother and daughter

Winter break from school, they spend a month on the Island

away from home in Fakarava

clearing the coconut groves

a hammock by the beach

they don’t have a lot

but they have a tropical island 



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The face of generosity 
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Heart of the coconut from recently sprouted coconuts.
This sponge replaces the milk space and is sweet and tasty-ish 

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Prolific Palms will sprout wherever they fall


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In the internet we trust

we believe in our digital sources,

sailors climb in their dinghies with their hard drives

swapping terabytes

open source navigation, the pass current “Guestimator”

it all sounds good, so technologically clever it simply has to work

we’re going where sailors used to dread

watched over by the faint, triangulated signals of satellites

google earth stitched over the old charts

some drawn diligently a hundred years ago by men who were dedicated, but human.

Rand and Ellen of the Catamaran Golden Glow

who bequeathed us so much of this digital treasure one hectic evening in Nuku Hiva

told a story about a family sailing in Polynesia

the daughter at watch, at night,

they hit an uncharted reef going full speed

dismasted, the father ultimately lost his leg

it’s hard not to be haunted by stories like that

on watch at night, sailing between Atolls

we remember the northern Sea of Cortez

only a few hundred miles from Los Angeles, real civilization

charted islands that did not exist or were miles off

once we appeared to anchor in the middle of the sea

An email via satellite from our friends on Starlet

they’ve heard that there is no internet in all of French Polynesia

a cable cut to Hawaii

True it wasn’t working in Kauehi

and I couldn’t post my perfect bonefish picture

so I guess there are still real world connections to the buzzing web

some lonely cable, thousands of fathoms below in the darkness

just couldn’t hold it together anymore

no escaping the real, physical world, after all




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The ‘Tridacna Maxima’ shows up in every imaginable color (This mosaicist is  wild about them!)

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These abandoned homes get occupied during the copra harvest (coconut for export)

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Whitemouthed Moray Eel (feeding on crabs)