book II scribblings
Collin set his jugs in a line. He guessed that he had five days’ worth. Maybe more. At what point would he try to Kayak back to Maui? And if it was too windy to cross?
He had barely made it here. He stared down at his torn up hands. He didn’t want to die from dehydration that was for sure. Rationing water rationing food, of course, he’d be on top of it. Collin observed the chatter, the dangerous line of thought, questions, doubts. He let it go and smiled. The solution was to find water and survive. The abundance of opihi on the rocks gave him good hope. Good momentum.
He looked over his supplies. His dry food and jugs of water were the first to protect. From what? Goats? Dogs? Pigs? He knew that there used to be goats here. The military had tried to eradicate them. For decades the goats had been here surviving, even with planes dropping bomb after bomb. Mountain goats living for generations in a weird war. Had some of them survived all the way through?
Collin went through his motions without much thought. He used loose stones, his smaller kayak, sand, more stones and eventually his food and water were covered, safe enough… though he still wasn’t sure if the island had any animals or people to be real thieves… but just in case.
In the one pocket of his old board shorts he had a small bundle of cloth with the lilikoi seeds. He had a knife and a stick of beef jerky.
Barefoot. No shirt. Normal. Nice and warm now that the sun was up. Would he find old bombs? Shrapnel. Rusty missiles. Old targets? Collin set off, the trail was sandy, with chunks of stone, maybe a stream on the heaviest winter rains. He glanced north. Clear skies. No rain today. At least not for the next twelve hours. His old perch in Waimanu had looked north, and Collin knew that even the clearest, hottest days could do a 180 by nightfall. But Waimanu was lush and green and full of water. And this crumbly hill that he was climbing seemed like it hadn’t seen rain in weeks.
After a minute of walking Collin paused. He let his eyes take in the details around him. He looked back toward his base camp. He imagined carrying his supplies back into one of these gullies, one of these sandy alcoves. He imagined a small pool of fresh water. He pictured himself returning to the ocean in the evening, when the sun set. And saying some sort of prayer of gratitude. He had made it. He would use the knife in his pocket and pluck four or five good sized opihi for his dinner. And maybe he’d just eat em raw. He wouldn’t need to make a fire.
And once he had a good camp with enough drinking water, his supplies organized and safe. He wanted to explore this island. Eventually the whole thing.
He walked back into the first gully, cool sand, the green of tiny plants. He made it deep enough to where the sand turned to red soil. He climbed a small rockface and found a flat table of soil holding scraggly weatherbeaten plants. He pulled the lilikoi seed bundle from his pocket and set it down on a rock. He positioned himself at the high point of the little plateau and with his hands he carefully dug a small hole in a spot that was plant free. He took down his shorts, and squatted over the hole in the soil. Collin looked out over the rocky terrain and relaxed for his morning crap. His first one on Kaho’olawe in more than ten years. He wondered if any seeds he had eaten might take. He would plant two of the lilikoi seeds here. A foot away from this healthy fertilizer. His mind wandered to limu. If he found water… when he found water, he’d collect limu and start to build soil, start to compost. He could use fish heads, some opihi. But limu and humanure… those would be the base of his garden. When it was time, if everything went smoothly, he would paddle back to Maui and collect more plants. When that day came he would be proud. It would be a good supply run. Not a retreat. Not a failed return. He would paddle north on a proud mission to bring more life back to this land.