Daily Ramblings - October 8th

Reflections: One Month at Sea 

September 15th Molly and I boarded our flight for the South Pacific.  We were giddy with anticipation and intoxicated with plans to refresh and renew our minds, and engage our bodies in rigorous exotic outdoor activities… a sabbatical on our new boat with frequent visits from friends as well as time for just the two of us.  It is an opportunity to invent the rest of our lives together.

It is working.  Our thoughts and conversations are a blaze with openness…curiosity abounds.

We never imagined diving with sharks, “wowing” at breaching humpbacks or sundowners on secluded lagoon beaches.  But it is the interaction with people and their cultures that inspires us.

Our first month has been filled with contrasts.  An afternoon with Hei Mau in Tahaa challenged the foundation of the work ethic and accumulating money as core values for our society.  Communal sharing of property and its bounty makes far more sense to him than competing for money and hording wealth.  He wants for little save more attention from his twenty children and more peace among his three wives! 

While pondering this sustenance “easy living in paradise” attitude compared to our fulfilling lives as successful entrepreneurs, the money gods seem to have sent a powerful message - diminishing the value of financial markets by almost half.  We may be joining Hei Mau’s lifestyle regardless…although I am quite content with one very special wife!

We left an America wrought with necessary concern over global warming and the impact affluent living is having on our Mother Earth.  But in Tahiti we have found human impact to be broad based – not just centered on the diminishing ozone.  Fish stocks are so encumbered local fisherman can no longer support themselves.  Millions of sharks are killed each year to satisfy the consumption of Shark Fin Soup.  And tourists are impacting the mating migration of the humpback whales. 

And, of course, economic dependence on the cruise boat trade is altering lifestyles, impacting island ambience, and radically affecting cultures and attitudes of communities that previously were content extended families and now compete for the one-day visitor’s dollars.

Change is inevitable, in our environment and in our lifestyles.  History suggests that we are not always rational in how we select change options and how we anticipate their impact on our Earth and in our cultures.

We have also relished the separation from hourly newscasts on the upcoming American elections - although we have given in to watching the Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates on CNN International.  When outside the daily deluge of “he said; she said” it is remarkable how sad it is to hear the negativity of our election process.  Why do we tolerate meanness and even elect the most negative politicians, rather than the most gifted and visionary?We look forward to the next several weeks of little television and await the outcomes on November 4th.

The delight of our first month at sea is first and foremost the result of our fantastic Captain Walter and incredible crew of eight.  Master Chef Martha is amazing – day after day she serves gourmet, creative dishes that become the highlight of our waking hours.  Katie, Kate and Jana spoil us with their ever attentive attention to every detail and cabin services. Jeremy, Cam and Tater not only keep the exterior of the boat sparkling, but are always welcoming with the dive and snorkel gear, fishing tackle, water toys – whatever is appropriate where we anchor.  And our engineer, Mark, performs magic on a daily basis whether it be an electrical, plumbing, internet or mechanical challenge.  But even more than everyone’s professionalism, we delight in their individuality, their bright personalities and their enthusiasm at sharing this adventure with us.

This has been written while enroute to Auckland, New Zealand as it is the only way to get to Tonga by air. The Major Wager has undertaken the crossing from Tahiti without us.  It will be great reboarding the boat on Monday.

We look forward to being joined in Tonga by four couples I was privileged to work with at Pure Fishing for decades – The Brennys, Stulcs, McClernons and McDonalds.  Next week promises to be filled with humor and good cheer as well as incredible diving and fishing as we make new friends and learn new life lessons from the Tongans.

Molly and Tom