A pineapple under the sea:
Winter must be the most underrated season. Mother Natures at her most volatile fierce best. Lashing the verdant coastline with hurricane winds and sideways icy rain, whipping the ocean into a frenzy of heaving white water. Its a veritable playground for the brave few, whooping it up as they ride these colossal mountains on flimsy epoxy boards.
The beasts of the deep welcome the intensity, food is abundant and human threat is at its lowest ebb. It’s in winter that the giants return. Behemoth mammals are back to mate, birth and train their young in the warmer waters found on the Cape of storms. The tempests seemingly unrelenting are peppered with days of sun. Cape Tonians immediately forget the melancholy of the cold and throng to the beach, lapping up the vitamin D, creating a gorgeous base for the hedonistic summer promise of these few warm days.
I stand on my deck watching the Southern Rights. Languishing in the sun, frolicking in the now placid sun drenched waters, ecstatically breaching to the crowds delight. I envy these magnificent nomads. Their journeys from the Antarctic to our seemingly tepid waters. There’s a scientific reason for their yearly exodus, something studied and documented, but I know the reason is far more base. A yearning to see the world, to explore and soak up all it has to offer. I know it’s far simpler than any scientist can explain because that feeling courses through my veins. I cannot live if I cannot travel. I’m constantly researching new countries and old, dreaming of the mad anticipation, wonder, adventure and life’s experience.
My passport holds infinitely more stories than any Facebook album and I find myself flipping through it, looking at the stamps, embracing the memories and counting myself lucky for a young life well lived.
It was the 26th December 2006 old friends and new jumped on a plane to Singapore. Doll-like hostesses attending to our every need made us feel like the holiday started in the fuselage of the iron bird. Two nights in Singapore, first experience of Asia a wonderful assault on the senses. Electronics, clubbing, a good fill of crazy ass Russians, Singapore slings and skinny-dipping in the glass fronted hotel swimming pool. Then a short plane ride to Phuket.
What a mind fuck. Seedy pommies propositioning lady boys and go-go girls alike. The Tsunami fresh in everyone’s mind. Hindu temples alongside unapologetic adultery. Stavy and Martin fantastically in love, responsible for our dignity, passports and money. Elias, mad for life and anything it could throw at us. Me, the rookie of the group wide eyed and frenetic, lapping it up, crazy in love with all the beautiful and unashamedly excited. A few days in and Thailand made its mark. A silly crash on a cerise scooter, almost lost a nipple, skin grafted the tar, no more scooters. We ride the real iron horses from now on.
A fast boat to Koh Phangan. Straight to the full moon party, buckets of miniature booze. The magic mountain undulating in the background, daring me to taste its wares. I remember the grin on Martins face as he handed me a greige coloured plastic shake. It’s a mushroom milkshake bru, drink up and go get us another one. I downed mine on the way to the bar. Four more in precariously balanced in my arms I found my friends. I started to drink the second as I passed them around, suddenly snatched from my hands I was told… careful bru, this little drink has really messed me up.
A small Thai man painted dragons on me. His neon motif accentuating the scabby nipple. Full Moon on fire on the beach, stomping pure white sand to Sun Control Species. A moment of clarity and introspection as a butterfly fluts past the revelry and lands of Stavy’s hand. Such perfection.
06h00 and I have elphantitis of the foot. A Thai doctor sells us man-sized Valium; blue one for the real man. We eat fish cheeks and curry for breakfast then…. Sleep.
A few hours and we’re back on the boat, Koh Tao for a rural chill. Diving, guitar and newly engaged Mike and Lar. Then off to Koh Samui, another mental island in the vein of Phuket. We oversleep and miss the ferry to Angthong. We charter a 95-seater ship… between the 4 of us. We’re laughing at the tourists in their red life jackets. We’ve embraced life; we’ve flipped the bird at the status quo. We’re young gorgeous and feel god in everything we do. We’re nomadic prophets.
What an amazing time with incredible people. Landing back in Cape Town is strange. I turn my mobile on for the first time and immediately freaked out by life’s technology.
Six years go by and the memories never dull until one fateful day a reckless taxi driver takes the life of my good friend Elias. 31st January 2011. Elias’s taught me how to live to embrace life and for everything it has blessed me with.
I watch the whales now. Melancholy and introspective, dreaming of the next journey, experience, of embracing life and dreams. Youth courses through my veins. My friends are by my side, Stav, Martin, Mike, Lar and Elias cement the wonderful memories and I look forward to taking my new love Kristyl to experience this all with me.
I stand bewitched on my deck observing the giants of the deep. Envious of their frivolity. Spiritual now I’m thankful for their influence.