Tropic Thunder

by wjw on October 29, 2012

To all my friends  out on the East Coast, all under the presumed path of Hurricane Sandy, I’d like to say that my thoughts are with you, your friends, and your family.   I’m watching the Weather Channel, which is heavy on actual facts and light on news anchors playing daredevil stunts in 65-knot winds.  Still, this looks like the Big One, and I hope y’all are prepared.

I’m sure it will be no comfort at all to hear that, in a couple days, I’ll be having exactly the opposite experience of what you’re now going through.  Kathy has decided we’re going to the South Pacific, and who am I to say no?  I’m going off on a six-week journey, largely by ship and/or boat.  I will be touching at Oahu, Hilo, Fiji, American Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, and the Coral Sea.  I will be enjoying beaches, tropical scenery, waterfalls, volcanoes, geysers, exotic rum drinks, caverns lit only by phosphorescent worms, Maori country, coral reefs, and a total eclipse of the sun!!!

I’m going to finish the trip with a week on a catamaran, doing four or five dives per day on the Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef.  (Sharks, I’d start being scared right now.)

After which I’ll have a 30-hour flight home and re-appear in New Mexico in the middle of December.  Wow.  Suck.

One thing I won’t be doing is spending a lot of time on the Internet.  I doubt, for example, that the catamaran will even have an Internet connection.  If I’m anywhere else, the Internet connection will be something I’m paying for, and so I won’t be spending long hours posting pensive essays, except on one of the following conditions:

  • Something’s gone wrong, and I’m really bored, or;

  • Something’s gone wrong, and I’m really pissed off.

I’ll do my best to upload beautiful pictures of oceanic and tropical scenes, though.

Right now, though, I’ve got to start packing my scuba gear and making sure nothing gets left behind.

And as for packing, the biggest problem is that we’re packing for way too many experiences and climates.  Tropical sun.  Underneath the ocean.  New Zealand fjords and glaciers.  Formal dinners, in dinner jacket and cravat.  And we’ll be carrying a telescope, which we’ll be using only for a few hours.  Plus I’m carrying two cameras (one good underwater), a laptop, and an iPad.

Sigh.  Even when I was a teen traveling through Europe with a backpack, I tended to overpack.

For a taste of my tropical experience, please enjoy Jimmy Buffet’s “One Particular Harbor,” with its lovely Polynesian chorus.  (Though I realize that for some of you it should be another Buffet song, “Tryin’ To Reason With the Hurricane Season.”  All I can say to you is, Wish you were here . . . )

wjw October 30, 2012 at 1:57 am

As I recall, my original concept when planning for this trip was: in November we take an amazing trip, run up charges on the credit card, and before the charges can come due, the Mayan Apocalypse happens and the world ends. Such a plan! What could go wrong?

Walter got into the spirit of the thing by replacing lots of scuba gear and booking himself a very nice scuba trip. So we’ve got lots of jolly charges on the credit card, and all we need now is an Apocalypse.

wjw October 30, 2012 at 2:15 am

That last comment, by the way, was by Kathy, for all that the blog credited it to me.

John Appel October 30, 2012 at 4:02 am

I am, indeed, jealous. I was lucky enough to have two weeks in Sydney in November 2010 and this is a lovely time of year to be south of the equator.

Central Maryland seems to be holding up fairly well so far, but the rain totals are getting up there in league with Agnes in 1972, which actually caused a minor change in the course of the Patapsco river (along with washing out a few bridges). And there’s a 6-inch-thick, 15-foot-long branch broken from one of my maples lying across the power lines in my backyard, so I’ll lose power at some point. Hopefully that will be when the team arrives to remove the branch from the lines and repair the connections to the houses connected to the two poles it’s between, both of which were leaning like the Tower of Pisa when I still had light enough to see by.

Safe travels, and we’ll see you in the Sixth World.

Dave Bishop October 30, 2012 at 9:08 am

And just think next year, by way of a complete contrast, you’ll be going to West Yorkshire! Enjoy the sun while you can!

grs1961 October 30, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Where in Oz will you be heading? Just the GBR in Queensland, or will you be visiting any of the more southerly climes?

Oh, and be aware that the sharks on the GBR have a, shall we say, very conservative attitude to divers. Back in the longago a mate of mine, with long(ish) straggly blonde hair was trying to get a crayfish out from a ledge, and felt something pulling at his hair. He looked around, but could see nothing, and assumed that someone was playing silly buggers. It wasn’t until we were back on the boat, and someone commented on his hair being somewhat shorter and more straggly than earlier that we twigged – one of the Black-Tipped Reef Sharks had given him a haircut!

wjw October 30, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Fortunately I’ve already had my haircut . . .

My soul experience of Australia, alas, will be reef diving and a day and a half in lovely Cairns.

grs1961 November 1, 2012 at 1:33 am

Cairns lovely??? If tourist traps are lovely, I suppose…
Hop on a SunBus up to Yorkey’s Knob and head to the Yacht Club for a drink, you’ll meet a wide array of interesting characters, few, if any, own a tinnie, much less a yacht.
Keep going to Trinity Beach, which is still the prettiest beach in FNQ, despite the recent over-development, just don’t swim outside the nets!
Have a good one!

wjw November 1, 2012 at 6:06 am

Cairns not lovely? But it’s supposed to have the =best= mud flats!

grs1961 November 1, 2012 at 10:00 am

No, the *best* mud flats in Oz are around the top of Westernport Bay, they go out for kilometers!

wjw November 2, 2012 at 7:49 am

I’m stuck in a town with second-rate mud flats? Oy. I’ll just have to stay drunk, then.

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