“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” – Hemingway
We woke up late today. My body needed the extra hours of sleep. The late start to the morning was a refreshing change of pace. Every morning until today had been the same routine: wake up at 4am, stretch, have coffee, pack our board bags, drive to the boat harbor, get to the secret left, and surf until we can surf no longer.
I took my time stretching and savoring every ache and pain. It was all worth it. The waves were supposed to go flat for the next few days, which would allow me to focus my attention on other projects I had planned for this trip. I poured myself a cup of coffee and sat down to watch the remainder of the Mexico World Cup game. The weather was warm and inviting as it has been for a majority of the time this trip. I have said it many times before, but Tahiti is the happiest place on earth.
My brother who had joined me half way through my stay here in Tahiti was restless and insisting that there were waves to be had. I rolled my eyes at him and his notion of trying to surf the knee-high waves breaking in three inches of water. I guess he didn’t get the memo that you’re supposed to surf when the waves are pumping and not sit on the boat and talk about surfing them while drink a cold Hinano. Nevertheless we rallied our boat driver Mika and went out on the boat to check the waves and enjoy the sunshine.
We went to a few passes and as Mika and I suspected the waves were far from anything worth writing home about. The wind was already blowing strong from the west causing whatever swell was left to look like mushy onshore California beach break. Since we were on the boat, I was eager to go to check out this ridge with this spire that was supposedly located near Mika’s family’s second house. I asked Mika if we could head that way to go check out the ridge. He replied as he has many times before when I make some ridiculous request, “No problem.”
Mika handed me the wheel to the boat and I drove most of the way through the lagoon to the second house. Keep in mind I have never driven a boat before so this was new and exciting. I was having a grand time flooring the engine to what seemed like Mach speeds. My guard was down and I was just enjoying not having to worry about shooting photos or pulling into waves that felt like they wanted to rip your head off. That when I saw it out of the corner of my eye.
I wanted to throw up. I knew it was tall and intimidating, but something about seeing it in person just puts it all into in perspective.
I began to wonder if it was doable, if it was possible. Lets get one thing straight, I have free soloed some ridges and climbs on Oahu before. Yes they are dangerous, chossy and unpredictable, but this is the unknown. I was truly feeling out of my comfort zone. Whatever confidence high I was on from the past week of surfing shallow reef passes had faded away. I remember I was slightly intoxicated one night back in California when I stumbled upon the photo of this particular ridge and told myself I would climb it.
I have a way of telling people I’m going to do something before I actually do it. It’s my way of holding myself accountable and forces me to actually go through whatever dumb idea I may have had at the time. I began to study the valley looking for any possible ridges that would lead to the base of the spire. I pulled out my camera and snapped a few photos. Just as quick as it popped into view it vanished.
We continued our way to a river mouth and drove as far as we could upstream. We tied the boat up and made our way to a little watering hole that had a rope swing. We opened a few more Hinanos and connected our iPhone to the speaker. A few tracks later we were all attempting to back flip off the swing. We were laughing at every failed attempt and belly or back flop. Mika was the only one who was successful. For an hour or so my mind had been free from the constraints of terror. I had forgotten about the spire and my intentions of climbing it. As all good things, this was soon to come to an end. The day was getting late and we had to get back to the house to eat. The blue light faded and with it, reality hit. We drove past the spire again. It sat there taunting me, toying with my mind. I guess I would find out soon enough, I kept telling myself. I wish that blue light never had to fade and I would be trapped in that moment of pure bliss forever.