No-Sleep Island

Oh man… so much for the weekly post goal. I cannot believe I’ve been here for a month already! So much has happened, but it feels like time has gone so quickly. I guess I was waiting to feel “settled in” before writing again, but everything seemed so temporary at first, like a vacation I would be home from in a week with nothing to show but a sunburn and sand in my luggage. I kept feeling that everything would be taken away as swiftly as it came and that I would be left feeling like such a fool for believing that anyone would actually pay me to be in this place. Now that I have fallen into a predictable routine and decorated my room, I can finally relax and share.

Rain over (but not on) Carlson, the next island in the atoll

This routine I speak of involves getting up at 0500 (well waking up) getting dressed for work, and riding my bike to the mess hall. Someone told me it’s a three mile ride, but I’ll have to verify that. We ride on the paved road next to the air strip and we always seem to be riding into the wind. Some days it’s so strong I’ve had to get off and walk. If you think this means I’ll at least have a wind pushing me home at the end of the day, that’s what I thought, too, and we’re both wrong. Somewhere in the afternoon the wind switches to completely the opposite direction and I have to fight it back as well! I need to have grandkids so I can tell them how easy they have it; your granny had to ride her bicycle 3 miles, in the tropics, in 100 percent humidity, against the wind both ways!

The first diver is in the water by 0700 and we rotate every two hours or so. Then back to the galley for lunch, then back to the barge, back to diving, then back to the galley for dinner around 1730, then the long ride home. There are three beaches close to the man camp, so I choose one and go swimming. It stays around 86 degrees here so I try not to get too far from the water (as if I could if I tried haha!). I bring a couple beers or some wine and stay for the sunset; I swear each one is better than the last.

Clouds over man camp
The man camp neighborhood. Homely, but homey

I’ve had a really hard time sleeping here for some reason. The beds are comfy, work is going well, the air conditioning is strong…. I. Just. Can’t. Fall. Asleep. Or sometimes I wake up hours early and can’t fall back asleep. My thoughts race and get stuck in loops about certain things. They’re not negative thoughts, though, thankfully, just never-ending thoughts. Song lyrics, lists, plans, what I should write about in the blog, bizarre hypothetical situations, about how I really need some sleep… Things get so jumbled I almost think I’m dreaming, but I can still feel my exhausted eyes and limbs aching. And then it’s so hot in the afternoons that I can’t keep from feeling irritated by EVERYTHING and everyone. Which is not good. There are multiple yoga classes around the island and I know at least two focus on meditation, so that is definitely on the list of things that must be done. What helps you when you can’t put your brain to bed?

Laps in the saltwater pool also help a manic mindset

We’ve been looking for an old concrete pile that sheered below mudline during extraction for over two weeks now. Daaays of nonstop water jetting and air lifting. We knew it was down there, we just didn’t know where. I’m the hero for finding it today (just kidding! We were all digging the same hole, it just happened to be my dive) so my boss brought me a case of beer as a reward. We had to stand-by for a turtle in the work area as well. If you can’t tell, I’m loving my job.

Off to work!

I missed getting a picture with the turtle, but I think I found the thousands of jellies he was snacking on:

Thanks for reading! If all goes well I will get to go on a boat this weekend and see some of the other islands finally! I can’t wait to share what I find.