Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Thursday, March 16
A small fire built near the camp took off the edge of the brisk morning cold. After breakfast, Chuck made some calls on the sat-phone, trying once again to reach Rolo. We still hadn't received email confirmation that Rolo had gotten our message, but we decided to be ready and waiting at our extraction point in case he somehow made it today.
We hiked from Hotel Sand Dollar (our camp) to the volcanic rocks where the welcome sign stands. Kevin and Chuck hiked about a half-mile back into the jungle to get more water from a stream we had seen on our way out. The water we had gotten from the croc's river was brackish, suitable for cooking but too salty to drink.
Brad and I hung out on the beach. We journaled and talked about how weird it was to be stranded, but how glad we were that we are adventurers. Both of us doubted Rolo would come today, so we started conditioning our minds to that fact. We liked being on Coiba, but with nothing left to do on the island, we really wanted a bed and some good food. We were starting our third day on Coiba, but it felt like we'd been stranded for a hundred years.
While we waited, both for the waterboys and Rolo, Brad and I started reading some quotes from his journal. One of them struck me hard:
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."
Amen to that. It seems strange that something so inspiring could come from Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf. But if you really understand the concept of adventure, it gets a little easier to see how someone with such a difficult life could look at her existence that way. According to a little sticker on my journal, adventure is "a daring, hazardous undertaking" or "an unusual, exciting, often suspenseful experience."
Keller's life was full of adversity. To overcome it, she had to show stubborn perseverance, even when she literally couldn't see the end results. When she learned to communicate, she passed her life's test. She had dared to dream and, despite the hazards, learned that she had what it takes.
If that's not life--or faith--I don't know what is.
The guys returned with water, and we wasted the day away lounging in hammocks at a new camp we'd set up nearer to the extraction point. At about 5:30, hunger set in, and we had resigned ourselves to the fact that we'd be sleeping on Coiba again. Chuck set up the stove, and we voted on what to eat for dinner. As we were about to open the spam and potatoes, we heard a noise that no animal could make.
We all traded glances, each of us thinking the same thing. We all bolted, but Brad was the first to make it to the beach. Sure enough, it was Rolo with a new boat and driver, coming to rescue us. We whooped like we'd been stranded for a year, and packed up camp with in a whirlwind of excitement. What had taken us half an hour to pack before took less than 10 minutes.
At 5:40, we were back out on the blue ocean listening to the pleasant hum of the 80-hp outboard motor (twice the power of our last one). We turned around to say our goodbyes to Isla Coiba. It seemed much nicer from a distance. The dense jungle looked inviting rather than torturous, and the sunset wrapped the green mountains in rainbow colors. From this view it was hard to imagine being glad to leave.
Back on tierra firme in Santa Catalina, we ate at the Jamming pizza restaurant. It will suffice to say that Pepsi was our nectar and pizza our ambrosia, and we slept very comfortably at a surfers' hostel called the Blue Zone.