Mama’s Up the Tree OR A Massively Overdue Update From the Last Great Frontier

Friends, Foes, Countrymen,

Firstly, apologies per usual for the scant updates. It’s a constant battle to remember the importance of internet updates in a world where blogs and such digital datum have no such value. My sincerest apologies, I’ve been neglectful.

So, whoa - Where to begin? This place is crazy. Like the stuff of dreams, and then so much more. At the moment I’m snugged in here inside the boat as an early evening thunderstorm is passing by outside….which, given that it’s a Saturday evening here, is, like, the greatest gift ever. Because rain means that the ol drunkards won’t fight the elements to congregate at the “resort”/shitty watering-hole next door to beat the living daylights out of each other. It means there will be no punches thrown, no retreats behind my slumbering boat, no exchange of large boulders that will or will not knock dear friends of mine out cold. It means there will be no homemade bombs hurled over the fence, no burning of homes in retaliation, no sunrise wakeups to find buggy-eyed boys milling around with axes and other such homemade murdering tools. So, yes, rain - it’s a good thing.

What else to tell you? Well, I’ve been here for a few months now. As you may remember, upon arrival I’d organized some repairs that required the hauling of the boat from the water to the land. It was quite a headache to get orchestrated (there is no shipyard/facilities proper here) only to be notified once the boat was in the slings that I had roughly 48 hours to complete repairs or the crane would be getting sent away to some other job in some other faraway place. I was told I’d be layed up for a month in such a case. But of course that month turned into 2-3 months which has since turned into ‘meh, who knows at this point’. So what can you do really, friends? I’ve always wanted to come here, to explore this place good and properly, really sink my teeth into this ancient world and its myriad peoples….so that’s exactly what I’ve taken to doing.

Aside from working on repairs, I’ve also been making extended jaunts out to the bush where I’ve been living with and filming a tribe of semi-nomadic people. They’re part of a group called the Bainings, a famously difficult-to-study people. It’s an epic hike up the top of the mountain ridge where we sleep. Behind the family’s main house they’ve built me my own grass hut where I can work out of. We hunt, and cook, and “tell stories” and it’s all so lovely. It’s everything my 10-year old National Geographic-reading self could have ever dreamed.

Back in town it’s all about election season, and I’ve been on the road with one of the candidates recording a radio story on the complexities of the political process here. It’s exciting and creatively mind-stretching and together all of it makes me feel like maybe the luckiest human being on the face of the planet. It’s just that rare moment in life where every little bit of you is getting stretched just so perfectly…

And of course all of it is made all the more romantic by the fact that when I wrap up here I get to unfurl the sails, stretch the charts across the table and point the bow in whichever way I please. Lately I spend most of my evenings studying weather patterns, passage routing, and layouts of all the most lovely sounding harbors I can find. I phone home to my friends, make plans for rendezvouses in the future ,and write heaps upon heaps of letters to all those I’ve loved along the way. Sometimes I can’t sort out how I’ve happened into such a sweet existence, some stroke of luck for sure.

Darwin, Bali, Durban, East Timor…who knows which I’ll land next. It’s a long and winding road and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way…

Alright, friends, I’m glad we’re in this thing together. Hang on tight, there’s so much still to come.

Yaro, m’catch mulai - bye for now.

X.

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