After breakfast we went to check the surf more in hope than expectation. Cahn, our surf guide and the crew of the little yellow boat took us on a lap of the local island checking all the breaks to see if there was anything worth surfing. There wasn’t so I went back to bed and had a nap. We hoped things would improve in the afternoon as the tide rose and a because a little pulse of swell was also expected. There is a break here called Suicides (due to the extremely shallow water above the coral) that armed with my surf helmet I was aiming for, however the surf just wasn’t showing enough there to warrant getting in so we returned to our favourite wave at Telescopes.

All the other surfers have now left the island so apart from Cahn and I there is just one new guy from San Francisco called David, who joined us in the boat today. The chest high waves on offer were smaller than I have surfed at the break before but as we all piled over the side of the boat it was the most idyllic scene. For a start there was nobody else out which is rare enough at Telescopes, then you factor in the perfect double rainbow that we were surfing under and add a healthy dose of setting sun over the ocean. The waves were so clean it was like surfing on polished air and I caught loads of really smooth rides before getting out to enjoy a beer in the boat as I watched the last of the sun dipping below the horizon. A pod of dolphins arrived right on queue to top off an awesome session.

It was not quite as perfect as the session I had in Mo’orea but came pretty close, even if there wasn’t a boat full of Hawaiian girls surfing in thong bikinis here. As a consequence you can understand that I was basking in the glow of it all upon returning to our island. Obviously it was dark after the sun had set, but the grounds at Aloita are beautifully maintained with the paths being constructed from the local coral sand, set between lines of upturned coconut husks. I have walked, staggered and run down these paths in the dark more time than I can remember without any incident so was just strolling barefoot back to my bungalow as usual.

I had arranged a massage for later in the evening and I was perhaps rushing down the path in order to have a shower beforehand, chatting with David about how perfect the surf had been for his first session. However only having arrived at our island resort set on the edge of a jungle from San Francisco the previous evening, he was clearly more aware of the potential dangers than me, who has become a little too used to them over recent months. “Is that a …” he started.

He didn’t finish the sentence in time because I was already walking through the snake he was trying to warn me about. The whole thing was immediately wrapped around my foot and I inadvertently hoofed it along the path. I completed this a fraction of a second before I did my own version of the Riverdance in an attempt to get the thing off my foot!

As any of you would be if I kicked you down the road, the snake was not best pleased about getting treated this way, and it’s first reaction was to go into a strike pose before deciding which of David and I needed to die first! We were lucky that David was carrying one of his surfboards at this point because he was able to use it to fend off the very angry snake which repeatedly stuck it’s teeth into the board bag. After a tense minute the snake decided to retreat and slithered off into the undergrowth leaving myself in particular in an understandable degree of distress, which David later described as looking like I had seen the Devil himself.

It was so dark that it is very hard to be specific about the details of the snake. We obviously did not want to get too close to it but David believes it was brown and in excess of three feet long. However knowing how many deadly varieties there are in this part of the world I’m not sure I want to know. I later asked the resort if they have any anti-venom on site and they don’t. In fact there is none kept locally at all so I am currently considering myself very, very, very lucky.

I still went for my massage once I had calmed down a bit, but went to the spa room with more than a cautious element to my steps and with more lighting than Blackpool Illuminations so I could see everything coming!

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2 Responses to “A Mellow-ish Day”

  1. Kate Dircksen says:

    I’m performing exploration on snakes, do you know the biggest snake?

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