A little while ago, we went on an overnight camp to the northern end of the island. Pristine, swimmable waters and a mostly sandy beach (rare sight in South Tarawa). We arrived at sunset after a 2 hour boat ride through the lagoon. Dinner was served camp style over an open fire. There were beers and gin! We sat around a fire chatting and star gazing. Like most days, I felt tired and decided to head to bed early. Bedding comprised of yoga mats with a mosquito net hung on a rope. Just as my eyes began to sink deep into my head and the waves of the ocean started to relax me, it started raining. It started to pour down. In desperate times, people get resourceful and it’s true. We made a makeshift tent by putting a piece of tarp to keep the water of our bedding. It seemed successful for a while and so we decided to sleep. Three of us were in that camp with a total of 16 scattered around the camp site scrambling for shelter. There were heaps of mosquitos but our nets were wet and sandy. I crawled into my sleeping bag liner trying to fight off the mossies with insect repellent. One of the girls in the camp found these fly screens I had brought from home. The one you put on cakes to keep the flies away and we slept with those on our faces which being a hilarious sight became the reason for cackling through the night. Haha. I woke up a little while later finding myself completely drenched and then just waited for the sun to rise. At dusk I was up with very little struggle and jumped into the water for a swim. The water was warm as it calmly swallowed my body and stung my eyes.
The day was a hot one. Breakfast was served and it became hotter. My team was on lunch duty. Note to self- never accept lunch duty on a hot day in the tropics during camp. Lunch was served followed by snorkeling. Sun burnt, exhausted, dehydrated, happy, we left camp and got back on the boat embarking on a 2 hour return journey. We played charades on the boat. As we began to see the shore of our destination, the boatman started to look a bit weary. Minutes later, the boat stopped. We had run out of petrol. In a normal place, I would panic but here, there is no time to panic or to get hysterical. We were lucky enough to have phone coverage and so we called a friend. About 40 or so minutes later, he found us following a number of flashing torches we all were waving to make sure he didn’t miss us. We all carry torches as there are no street lights here. As we traveled towards the shore, some of my fellow peeps shouted out newspaper titles that could eventuate from a scenario like this. Laughing and giggling along with a desperate need to wash up, we made it back. That night I slept well.