I stood at the back of the packed church flanked on one side by a large islander in a multicoloured Tahitian style shirt and on the other by a slighter man in an AC/DC T-shirt and green bandana. As a building it was plain on the interior but made memorable by some truly handsome carving in a light, orange hued wood. The figures were of a familiar religious nature but rendered unusual by the stylised forms and unorthodox paraphernalia. Continue reading
Sharks get a bad press, a very bad press. More people each year are killed by dogs in the United States alone than are killed by sharks worldwide. So why do these highly evolved creatures evoke such feelings of dread and fear?
HMS Bounty set sail from the South Pacific island of Tahiti on the 5th April 1789. The crew of 46 had enjoyed a 5-month layover during which their main employment had been to gather breadfruit plants to transport to the British Colonies in the West Indies to grow as cheap food for the slaves. Many men had lived ashore and led promiscuous and hedonistic lives among the native women. Captain William Bligh had remained chaste himself, but was tolerant of the wanton lives of his crew and wrote “the allurements of dissipation are beyond anything that can be conceived”.
It was Saturday evening and the last place I had expected to find myself was in a cell in the main police station in downtown Papeete, capital city on Tahiti in French Polynesia.
I like to spend time on the edges of oceans. There is something about this marginal coastal territory, this meeting point of two totally different environments, that fascinates me. To walk from solid ground into the water and then to float, swim and dive is a form of flying, a feeling of weightlessness and fluidity, a near liberation from the pull of gravity. It is also a departure from all that we know and are accustomed to and for some this is alien and fearful.
I am not a regular church goer but twice in the last few weeks have found myself in God’s house surrounded by people a lot more devout than me. Why?
Today is the 12th May 2015. My birthday. I am 53-years old and happy with that and would not have it otherwise.
The graves were simple white painted slabs with a matching headstone. There were five in all: two were for the nine English militia killed in a skirmish in 1989 with the Maori rebel chief Te Kooti; the rest were the graves of later settlers.
It rained all night. Every time I awoke it was to a relentless drumming on the tin roof and the occasional chirp from one of the six geckos stuck on the underside of the foil insulation.
Well, I wanted to write something that was hot off the press and of the moment and the opportunity has finally arrived! Continue reading