March 7, 2003
I unpack the FIJI DIARY from November of 2002. And I notice that the last entry is about our mutual vow to keep bliss on Pacific Bliss. I find that ironic, since this very subject had been the topic of our discussion early this morning, as the light dawned in more ways than one!
Gunter woke up overwhelmed by all the tasks remaining to be done on Pacific Bliss, now that we have brought her two huge boxes of presents from the States—actually three boxes, including the roll of charts. She now has parts for the head, back-ups for Ray (our autopilot and ship’s computer), zincs (grounds that attach like a ring around the propeller shafts), galley supplies, e.g. a new cutting board—you name it. All are unpacked and piled throughout the salon. And Captain Gunter abhors disorder!
“Cool it,” I advised. “We can have order in our heads, even though there is apparent disorder on the boat. After all, we cannot take down the protective tarps, make the beds, or unpack our library. In fact, we shouldn’t even take the coverings off the salon cushions, because she will be five more weeks in the relentless heat of the tropics while we tramp New Zealand. So let’s make a plan on what we can do during this one week before we leave again.” I could see Gunter’s drawn face relaxing as we turned on the lights in our seaside bure here at the First Landing Resort. We made a pot of coffee and sat in our screened porch as the birds loudly greeted the arrival of dawn’s first light.
“That’s why I need you,” Gunter hugged me tight, “to set me straight.”
The tide began to roll in, lapping at the grey rocky shoreline less than 60 feet away. Only the porch steps, the sidewalk, and a short hedge separated our bure from the narrow strip of beach. We took it all in, happy to be ensconced in our seaside bure, and delighted to be back in Fiji. We were at bliss again.
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Somehow, we had been unable to keep that atmosphere of peacefulness and bliss, so ubiquitous in the South Pacific, in our home back in San Diego. It was not for lack of trying.
We had marveled at the view of Sail Bay from the west-facing windows of our condo in Pacific Beach, San Diego. We made sure we were home each day in time to maintain our ‘sundowners’ tradition, dutifully sitting in our chairs facing the Pacific Ocean as the orange rim disappeared behind the horizon. We relished the wines in the cooler, the ice in the door of the fridge, and especially, being able to use all the water and electricity we wanted. But it had all faded much too fast.
We traveled to Texas, to Germany, and on to France visiting relatives and friends—enjoyable except for catching terrific colds in the harsh winter of Europe. Then, after the holidays, our spirits were dampened with the death of Gunter’s 90-year-old mother. He returned again to Germany. And on top of it all, was “the war.” No, the Iraq conflict had not yet begun when we left the states, but it dominated the news and cast an anticipatory pall over everything. We tended to spend too much time glued to cable news programs and internet sites—a habit we are forced to break here.
There is no CNN or Fox News here to mitigate our peace. Gone are the sound bites and flashy visuals. In their place, we wake to the sounds of the chirping birds and incoming tide. In the evening, we watch the sun set and the moon rise over the Mamalucas as we slowly sip our sundowners.
Bliss is back.
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