Happy New Year!
The year began on a tiny island North of the Indonesian side of the Island of Papua. If you were determined, you could walk completely around it in under 30 minutes. It had a small grove of trees and shrubs on one end and a long spit of sand extending out the other. We were going to build a bonfire for the ages… and lucky for us, the sandspit was covered in driftwood. Fueled by the two coolers of beer and two pitchers of rum punch we brought with us, I’ve never enjoyed scavenging so much. Next came the fireworks and glow sticks we’d packed into the tender… we needed something to light the way from the cooking fire to the bonfire! After setting off the fireworks at the stroke of midnight, we carried on for some time before we realized that we were stuck on this godforsaken piece of beach. The tide had gone and left our tender high and dry. Sleeping curled up in the bow of a beached tender is a not exactly a great way to start the new year!
2016 ended at club in Floripa (as the locals call it) called P12. A ticketed affair, it was situated on the beach and perfectly fitted for a NYE party: stage, pool, cabanas, beach access, open bar, 4 DJ’s, and plenty of people. It was one hell of a night, but how it began was most entertaining. Festivities kicked off around 2130, but it was pouring down rain and we had to make a beach landing anyways, so we thought we would hold off until 2200 before braving the downpour in our NYE whites. Of course, the downpour became torrential and we realized we were going to have to make a plan. We had already decided that someone was going to have to take one for the team, put their clothes in a plastic bag, and swim in after anchoring the tender, but it now seemed that was going to be the best strategy for us all. Armed with our plastic bags and wearing no more than our briefs and fedoras, we hit the beach, in the storm, with the gusto of a SEAL amphibious assault. By the time we dressed and showed up at the entrance, our clothes were so wet we might as well have worn them the whole time.
Thankfully, we had learned from our previous mistakes and anchored the tender well out of the tidal range, and even though we separated throughout the night, we made good use of a floating tender. Not a single one of us was forced to swim back to Reliance. What a difference a year can make…