Weather Ebbs & Flows
October 6, 2017
Nearly one month on Maatsuyker Island has flown by. Where to start? How about a week solid of rain and gale winds?
The weather determines most things here on Maat: what we accomplish, what we don’t, what we eat, what we see. On the island, you live by the weather. But 7 days of wind and rain is bound to take its toll. Without even realizing it, you begin to feel deflated. Like a tired balloon, your mind and body struggle to stay fully afloat. Your optimism and mood waver down and up, and down again, until lethargy sets in and pulls you to the ground.
There were some brief moments I felt that way. Luckily, they passed quickly.
The location of the house is such that even if the weather is relatively calm or tolerable on the rest of the island, looking outside our window feels like you’re staring down the face of an approaching hurricane! The wind swirls and growls, the rain smashes against the glass with great force and repetition. You press your nose against the gray, murky pane and all you see is more of the same.
In the past weeks, we’ve experienced this type of weather, but never with the same tireless urgency. We would have been rewarded with a day of winds and no rain, or several hours of our old friend, the sun! The island has a way of doing that - keeping you captivated and awed, dangling her riveting beauty at precisely the right moment, when you’re least expecting it. Well, until recently, when she withheld for quite some time.
Like caretakers before us, we quickly came to the realization that no matter how uninviting it looks just outside your window, you have to pull on all your layers of warm and wet weather gear and get your ass out the door! You don’t have to travel 10 meters before the wind settles its fury and the tea tree shelters you from the more severe elements. At that point, you can simply resume business as usual.
The day before yesterday, the rain faded behind the clouds and the wind calmed to an unheard of 02 knots, so we eagerly trotted to the other side of the island to visit our new friends, the seals! We took some brooms and a shovel to make a productive trip out of it by doing some drain clearing along the way. Man, that’s some fun work - getting down on all 4s in the ditch, picking mud and debris out of solid rock, bending over shoveling under boards and stomping around in gum boots through drains, surrounded by leeches! I’m not even kidding though, it is fun! How often do you have an excuse to play in the mud back home? We ditched our shovels at the north end of the island and began our slippery decent down to “seal cove”.
To be continued…
October 7, 2017
Remember what I said yesterday about the island dangling her jewels at precisely the right moment? Well, therein lies the reason for yesterday’s unfinished entry.
In one overwhelming instant, the clouds parted to reveal the gorgeous blue sky above and the sun shone in on what once again unveiled itself as an ISLAND PARADISE!
We bolted out both doors and drank up the vitamin D the rest of the day! I don’t think we went inside for more than 5 minutes before 7:00pm! What an incredibly PERFECT day! I wasn’t even sure they made those this close to the Antarctic. If this was a taste of the savory summer months to come, bring ‘em on!
We did so many fun things in the sun as the hours passed. I planted seedlings and transplanted a thyme plant to the garden next to our house. Jesse and I nearly died laughing, while we filmed ourselves doing “Insanity” (exercise program), looking out over this stupidly spectacular view! We danced and drank beer in the garden, took a walk and had a picnic in the grass.
The perfect day on the perfect island.
That night we treated ourselves to some salmon and fresh greens from the garden with basmati rice that was left for us (we only brought brown). We dubbed Fridays “Whiskey Night”, and will henceforth carry on the tradition with great pleasure and enthusiasm.
And just when we thought it probably couldn’t get any more spectacular, today’s sunrise brought with it more of the same!
So for the last two days, we lathered our faces with sunscreen and great appreciation. I am currently sitting outside in sunnies and a T-shirt, writing this entry. I brought my young tomato plants out for some sun and fresh air; and I find myself daydreaming about all the possibilities of this island - all the rare intrigues and delights that have yet to reveal themselves.
After we’ve taken some time for ourselves, soaking in the deep and invigorating sun, perhaps it will be time to get back behind the mower. Who knows, our alarmingly pale legs may even get a bit of color.