Sep 9, 2007

CARP ISLAND, Palau – Anything capable of rattling – coconuts, clothes hangers, loose planks – is. The storm even backhands the big palms.

An hour's boat ride from Koror, home to 18,000 or so, the darkness is thick on Carp Island. Funereal. Final.

Yesterday's weather map showed an blurry sworl south of Japan. Like a faulty ball-point, the typhoon now bursts over dreams of ancient navigation, when tattooed constellations rolled across biceps, when reeds and cowrie shells mapped the Indo-Pacific.

"Dugongs ate my baby," I holler, troubleshooting outside our cabin.

"You think that's funny?" shouts Steph, mother of a one-year-old.

"Yeah, cause my @ss is out in typhoon about to be chewed by a dugong."

"They're manatees. Mermaids in local mythology. They don't–"


"What now?"

"The flapping is the bug screen. Gimme a towel or something as a wedge."

Every time I wade into the night, I step over Massacre. At first, we mistrusted the dog's crusty flank wounds. But the dive resort's alpha-female is so clearly loved and indulged. "I bet sores just don't heal well in this climate," Steph suggests.

Massacre on the porch – ghost-pale in the tropical funk – comforts me. When the thuds shift to an animal spectrum, she barks. I burrow under the sheet then, swaddle my ears, practice pranayamic breathing. Please, please, let me sleep.

I can ghoul-along on empty for days, bleaching energy from bone and will. But this is another matter.

My sinuses must clear.

Just long enough to dive another day.


  1. S.cat9:28 PM

    Aren't you ever frightened? Or does only congestion strike fear into your heart?

  2. I suffer the usual twitterpations, I suppose. But I can override most.

    Things I fear:
    1. Gear failure
    2. Egg salad
    3. Computer theft
    4. Missionaries
    5. Getting doored on my bike

    Contrary to vile rumors in the industry, I am NOT afraid of the skull-headed possum in the backyard. I merely find it freaky.