The Song of Raivavae, Episode 99, Odysseys in Paradise

The course to Sydney stretched through the southernmost Polynesian atolls and just slightly beyond the very northern tip of New Zealand. Long and arduous sailing laid before Rich. Boredom lurked like a deadly plague. This would be a test for the trek across the Indian Ocean that also perched yet months ahead beyond Australia.

“I need more books to read,” Rich thought. He thought about all the things that happened to him in the last few months in South Seas. “I need a rest. Boredom, though mind-numbing, is the elixir needed.”

For six days he held a steady course. Much of the time spent jotting down events to later be used as articles or stories he planned to write. He had been schooled by Sam White to outline an article, arrange it in a logical order, write it out by hand, correct it, then type it—and fight with the editor.

Mid-afternoon of the sixth day the island of Raivavae sprouted from the shimmering blue sea, green and near majestic in appearance. It was a somewhat unusual island. It appeared to be like an atoll with a huge island in its lagoon. It was nearly surrounded by reefs and small islets.

Rich steered The Odyssey to the north of the island where the protective reef opened as an entranceway to Raivavae. The island stood proud, with craggy cliffs and lush green vegetation climbing to near its peaks; almost as if a painter ran out of green. There he planned to restock, if possible, and spend an evening before continuing.

Sailing along the shoreline, Rich smiled and thought, “If I stay for more than a day, I’ll want to stay for a week and if I stay for a week, I’ll want to stay for a month. If I stay for as long as I want at each place I see, Dennis will be an old man by the time we meet again.”

Rich found a place to dock The Odyssey at a small village on the north shore of the island proper. He tied to the wood pilings and stepped onto the planks. He stretched as if he just rolled from bed.

Rich walked to a cement block building with a sloped rusty tin roof. It was the post office. Rich with a limited command of French greeted the postmaster and ask if a place existed to buy supplies. The postmaster pointed to a building a couple hundred yards south.

Rich returned to The Odyssey and pulled his cart with him. He walked uphill to a building constructed of lumber with a rusty tin roof. Inside a grocery stood stocked with staples and canned goods. The manager spoke a little English; enough for Rich to fill the cart and enough to overcharge with sincerity.

On the way back to The Odyssey some fresh fruits and vegetables were purchased from a woman working in a small garden.

As the sun sat Rich prepared a meal with fresh items. He ate in the cockpit with the side and back flaps of the pilothouse up. Staring at the island there were no thoughts of interaction with anyone. “I’ve had enough of that to last me for a while. Ramona, I know she is doing well. There will be struggles; it’s a new life, new surroundings, all strange to her.”

Soon it was dark. From the village came a lonely pure voice of a woman singing with clarity and beauty. “I don’t know what she is singing about, but I know what it means to me.” A peaceful sleep crept slow and certain.



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