Our transport to the tropics was remarkably uneventful, having at our disposal all of the most modern of conveniences. Upon arrival, the traditional ceremonial welcome took place along the leeward shore. A soft breeze wafted in from the sea and a bright moon shone above the archipelago. Satisfied, we all were, with the selection of seafood and excellent desserts, the first night closed with success and much needed rest from the journey.
Failing as we did to anticipate the multitudes seeking relaxation as they celebrated a break from their work, we found ourselves in the midst of throngs of people. Despite the temporary discomfort, the soft breezes of the Trade Winds afford perfect weather and a chance to explore the town and its environs. Opportunities to rest and swim along the shore were taken. Let me assure you, however, that the diverse distractions did not interfere with the important work to be done. Au contraire mon ami! Observations of various aspects of human society were undertaken. Study of “herd mentality” discussed in Charles MacKay’s “Extraordinary Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” was engaged and confirmations were noted at the Wailana Coffee House, Eggs ‘n More, Island Vintage Coffee, and the North Shore on the day of celebration. Further recognition of this malady was noted all along the beaches of the leeward shore, and at a purveyor of ladies’ handbags known as “Tory Burch” where, one evening, guards were posted to keep order and only permit certain selectees in to peruse the goods. It was, one must say, an odd display of human behavior; yet, in keeping with MacKay’s view of human nature as seen by the Mississippi stock bubble of 1719-20, the South Sea Company of the same period, the Tulip craze, Beanie Babies, and Justin Bieber.
If I may report on one recommendation for success, dear reader, it is to by no means follow the crowd. My regimen in the Tropics followed this course: up with the sun, search for the finest coffee and breakfast where there is no crowd, a swim in the ocean early in the morning before the people come out to baste themselves with oil and lotion under a burning sun until done to medium well. From there it is to the pool shortly after it is stationed for stretching and a few laps, and then immediately into the spa to loosen up the sore muscles from the strenuous activities and apply a curative water treatment to old injuries of the joints and tendons. After this, a well needed rest in the morning sun. As the other inhabitants begin to arrive and the elder ladies start their morning exercise routine in the pool set to loud 50’s rock music, I make my way to a quiet spot to engage in the day’s readings while enjoying a hand rolled “Island Prince” cigar. This is normally done on in a nearby tree covered park as the bar is not yet open and they do not permit smoking there anyway! From this observation, it seems clear, that we are over regulating life to an absurd degree. It is true that where I have been residing one may not purchase an adult beverage for on-site consumption before 11:00 a.m. and one may not consume it while simultaneously enjoying native grown tobacco. It is hard to imagine such an abomination against the free will of man. Yet, even in “paradise,” it is so. It is such meddlesomeness of the “nanny State” that makes one sorry for the loss of the wild and beautiful areas to commercial and official management. (Is there a difference between the two? Says the corporation: “L’Etat, c’est moi.”) But, I digress. Finally, I am able to obtain my two Beefeater and tonics and seriously consider the questions that hinder all of mankind. And this is how I spent my days leading up to the pursuit of our mission. I trust you will find this accounting satisfactory.
After days of attempting arrange for transport and accommodations, we departed at sunset for one of the outer islands for our intended mission of exploration. As our twin turbo-prop De Havilland touched down in the dark we began planning our steps in some detail, as time for the operation would be brief. We were expected at our lodgings and greeted by the warm breezes and thunderous surf along the eastern coast. These tropical accommodations were truly extraordinary. Our lanai overlooked the Pacific and we were lulled to sleep by the sounds through the wooden shutters of wind blowing through the palm trees and the ocean waves. We woke in the morning to the song of a tropical bird outside of our window, greeting the new day – and isn’t every day new? We were served the finest breakfast, which included the famous Portuguese sausage and excellent island coffee. Afterwards, we explored the shore and were entertained by the comical rock crabs. We could not tarry long, however, for time was working against us.
Our quest would take us up what some (incorrectly) believe Mark Twain called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” and near the heights that constitute the wettest place on the planet. We ascended from sea level up and over 4,500 feet. Along the way we noted the frequency of wild yard birds and the fact that they are in the open, begging for food. In our land, this would never happen in light of a concern for predators (coyotes and such, not drones). The mists and rain persisted in our ascent. Eventually, we discarded our conveyance and made our way through the mud of the mountain rain forest on foot.
It was difficult going but the sights were tremendous. Going up and down in the slippery mud without a guide was taxing, and we could not be sure exactly where we were. We were encouraged, however, that we were near to our goal when we realized we were in the land of the giant dragonflies. The magnificence of this world carved from rock and bathed in the waters from the sea is beyond words. Wet with mist and tired from the thin air, we finally reached it as the clouds temporarily gave way – the edge of the world.
Beyond this point, we do not know; nor could we because of the impossible gulf between us and the heights of the world. But we could see it; and isn’t that it is all about? It is the journey that matters, and through our journeys we will all reach the edge of the world if we only persevere.
We celebrated the mission with a feast of shrimp near the site of the Capt. Cook landing and made a pilgrimage to the Russian fortifications there. The mission closed with a visit to a local coffee plantation. Need I say more?
Please accept this Report and Observations from the Sammich Islands.
Respectfully and humbly submitted, this Ninth day of September, in the Year if Our Lord Two Thousand and Twelve,
By my hand,
Rdr. Timothy J. Keefer, Esq.