Journal #2 – A Nautical Nightmare

A stunning sunset on Moorea, French Polynesia

In this journal entry; the tale of a nautical nightmare from Moorea to Taha’a. It’s about hurling, having the shits and the high seas.

Let’s set the stage for some sailor’s drama, shall we? A 20-hour voyage from Moorea to Taha’a – the stuff nightmares are made of. I had just finished a three-hour shift, when I felt my stomach churning like it was auditioning for a role in “The Exorcist.” I retreated to the stern, the perfect spot for a good old vomit-fest.

No need to worry about wind direction here, no chance of my own puke making a U-turn back to my face to solidify how big of an unseaworthy loser I really am. I simply stretched myself out and let the liquidy goodness from the inside of my stomach fulminate from my mouth like I had summoned Poseidon’s anger upon me. I watched as the black waves below swallowed it.

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Journal #2 - A Nautical Nightmare: Sara Fondo behind the wheel, sailing in French Polynesia
Journal #2 - A Nautical Nightmare: Stunning sunset on Moorea, French Polynesia

Tummy Treasures

A wee while after, I went to my cabin, thinking a little R&R would cure what ailed me. Nek minute I sat with the emergency plastic bag, I had brought into bed with me, in my lap, another wave of acidic torment unleashed from my mouth.

Why not go to the toilet, you might think? Well, our marine pump-toilet has a tendency to get blocked, is not safely secured to the ground and is also leaking on the floor. Choose your player. I went with the plastic bag.

That night, I lied in fetal position in my bed with a plastic bag as my best friend. I shoved a hard candy, tasting like toothpaste, in my mouth, thinking it would disguise the sour stench seeping from underneath my teeth – it didn’t work.

I christened two more bags with a disgusting paste of tummy treasures, and for added fun, my gut decides it’s time for a double feature – the other end joined the party. On our not-so-trustworthy marine toilet.

As the subtle golden hue spread across the sky on my 6AM watch, I wondered if I had actually gotten seasick or if perhaps the vomit-and-racer-tummy sickness that had made several of our guests and the skipper ill over the past week had finally caught up with me (though this may just be me not wanting to accept the fact that I actually have terribly weak sea legs from time to time).

Journal #2 - A Nautical Nightmare: Sailing at nighttime in French Polynesia
Journal #2 - A Nautical Nightmare: Motu in Taha'a, French Polynesia

Motu Memories

Later that afternoon when I sat on deck, taking in the views from our anchorage, I felt like being back in the Tuamotus. Motus are little islands of sand that are typically created in the area of a barrier reef where the sea current slows down, allowing the sand to settle. The only thing reminding me that I wasn’t, was the hazy view of Bora Bora, standing tall in the horizon.

I love mountains, so I feel right at home in Society Islands, but after spending almost 3 months in Fakarava at the beginning of the year, the second largest of the Tuamotu Atolls, I sometimes find myself longing for the flat-like-a-pancake motus and the different way of life there. To me, the Tuamotus inhabit the true meaning behind the term “Island Life” (I’ll write more about life there one day)

As I crawled back to my cabin to recharge, I dreamed of having a normal-sized bed that didn’t rock beneath me for the night, no ants crawling upon me and maybe a toilet that didn’t leak onto the floor.

But you know what? Those are all luxuries, I can save for another chapter of my life.

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