July 3, 2000. Coral Sea departure
“So, what dae ye think life aboard Moksha’ll be like?” said Kenny, perched behind his camera.
April considered this for a moment, letting her gaze drop to the heavy torpor of the harbour water. It was a stock question for a documentary filmmaker to ask, one that allowed the editor to juxtapose preconceived notions with the actual reality of an undertaking. And for April, a middle-aged mother and schoolteacher from Colorado, it was particularly poignant. She’d never been in a boat before, let alone to sea. She couldn’t swim too well, either.
“I think life on the boat will be interesting.” April was perched on a fractured slab of concrete, part of the old wharf at the National Fisheries Development Company on Tulagi. “All of a sudden my world is going to rock. The cooking is going to be a bit different. Washing clothes. Going to the bathroom. Washing my hair. And it’s all with saltwater. So, I kinda wonder if I’m going to feel like a pickled herring by the time these next four weeks are over.”
Earlier in the day, She and Kenny had made it to Honiara on the first flight from Port Moresby in over a month. A lull in fighting had allowed the Air Nuigini plane to stay on the ground long enough to discharge its human cargo, and pick up a fresh load before taking off again. Just in time, it turned out. As the pair boarded a ferry to the relative safety of Nggela-Sula, word had come through of a hostile force advancing on the airport, spearheaded by a homemade tank. Someone with creative flair and a socket set had bolted half-inch steel plate to the sides of a D8 bulldozer, and a .50 caliber Browning machine gun disinterred from a WWII ammunition dump to the cab roof.
“Are ye afraid ay anythin’?”
April smiled. “I’m pretty much open to it all. I don’t know what to fear, so I don’t fear anything at this point.”
* * *
>> More excerpts from The Seed Buried Deep, part two in The Expedition trilogy, will be posted in the coming weeks prior to US & Canadian publication November 1st.
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