Wednesday, January 10

Oh Island in the Sun

The Sea was a deep aqua blue, more beautiful than a dark precious stone shimmering under the clear blue sky. I will always remember that colour of the sea on that boat trip from Abyiang to a nearby tropical island in the Sun.

I remember my wife sat quietly in the bow, having recovered from an earlier ordeal when she had awoke as if from a sudden nightmare to a raging shivering fever. We were then staying in a thatched hut on Abyiang, the guests of volunteer teachers from Australia and Canada. The schoolchildren upon hearing of her fever brought us coconuts, telling us the juice would soon restore her to good health. True to their word my wife was soon up and about as if the fever was no more than a bad dream, much to our mutual relief. We had arrived the day before by boat from Tarawa the most populated Island in Kiribiti, as our intended plane trip was cancelled due to a breakdown .We negotiated with locals who took us to Abyiang by boat, finally trekking across the coral reef as our boatman carried our provisions.

We arrived both hot and exhausted.

Soon the weekend had beckoned and it had been decided to visit a nearby deserted Island. The first glimpse of the island from our boat was of a pristine beach of endless white sand, crystal clear sparkling waters and a thick almost jungle like foliage hugging the foreshore.

After our landing we hacked out an open space in the thick foliage to make up a rough camp space but were interrupted by the arrival of a local family. Oh dear! The island was not deserted after all. Worse still, discussions ensued as to whether we had suitably introduced ourselves to the spirit of the Island by traversing it from one end to another.

The family finally departed amicably and we were left to explore the coral reef and its wondrous underwater sites. To our surprise the family returned again but this time with a number of large brightly coloured crayfish, which they had caught for us specially to be consumed for lunch. Furthermore after learning some of us were to soon return to Australia, they performed a special ceremonial dance of farewell in the sand. A most elaborate and complicated dance performed in a wonderful spirit of friendship, extended so generously to strangers, ones to whom they could not converse nor were ever likely to see again.

The dance reminded me of the ceremonies that must have been performed to farewell canoes long ago as they set out to populate the many Islands that now make up what is now the kingdom of Kiribiti.

Their history is recorded in the many dances and songs, words to exquisite harmonies lasting for several hours, never written down but handed down orally from the one generation to another.

Oh Island in the Sun

14 comments:

CHIC-HANDSOME said...

good year

SHERHAZADE said...

That is so interesting, Lindsay. Did you end up traversing the Island to satisfy the family and the spirit? How many people actually lived on this island? How many members of the family were there? YOu should write a travel book!

Vee said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR, LINDSAY - to you and your family.

Lovely description of your time away. :)

Emmie said...

well so nice description of the sea... loved the way u have shared your experience... surely u had a very exciting trip.... i would too love to have a trip of that sort with good friends... u can well drop by My Blog sometime too...hope u will find it interesting...!!!

Madcap said...

What an interesting life!

Michael Manning said...

Your post reminded me of Actress Candice Bergens's memories of being 19 on the movie set of "The Sand Pebbles" with the late Steve McQueen. Very interesting!

Lee said...

Just the right place to drift off into today in my daydreaming...thanks , Lindsay...you know me and my love of islands! :)
Great story. :)

Val said...

What a fabulous experience, Lindsay.Something to cherish.

A good start to the new year, and I wish you more of the same throughout.

Granny said...

What a nice story.

lindsaylobe said...

HI Chic-hansome, Sherhazade,Vee, Emmie, Madcap,Michael,Lee,Val & Granny -thanks for visting.
Sherhazade
We didn’t traverse the Island. There was just the one family group living there, who together with their few pigs, complemented their living off the the sea and land.

It happened many years ago.

Best wishes to you all.

DellaB said...

Oh Lindsay, you have the BEST tales to tell. This one takes me there so well, I wish I'd been more adventurous when I was younger, lucky you to have these memories, and thank you for sharing them with us.
:-)
Della

Emmie said...

Very nice poem.....i loved that... I would surely visit your blog soon.... !!!

Gary said...

Lovely writing Lindsay. Photos?

I wandered on foot into a very poor stretch in a suburburb of Khartoum Sudan one evening. I felt safe, but felt a bit of an intruder. A very wizened old woman beckoned me down a dusty alley to her shelter, which was a hut made of cloth over sticks. I thought she might be admonishing me as her waving was quite severe.

She invited me into the shade of her hut and served me sweet tea instead. I know only the smallest amount of Arabic, but it didn't stop her from telling me many stories as we sipped.

After an hour, I bowed and left.

Small gestures of warmth and humanity in a sometimes alienating world.

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Dellab & Gary
Thanks for your visit and thoughts. I intend adding few photos.
Best wishes