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Yes, we did go sailing on Thursday and Friday.

No, we did not make it around the island. The winds did not will it so. Instead we got as far as M'tsamboro, an isle northwest of Grande Terre. I got a bit seasick so took two motion-sickness pills that knocked me out. I went down and napped in the "coffin" (berth) as we skipped the waves around M'tsamboro, struggling to get closer to it. We dropped anchor in the lee of the island and spent the night there. 




Grande Terre on the left, M'tsamboro on the right.



Aren't those colors too incredible for words?

mana_trini , spearfisher extraordinaire, et François went hunting the next morning and brought back three yummy fishes. Delphine took Titouan for a ride in her kayak while I snorkeled and saw my first-ever pencil sea urchin.

Even though we didn't make it around Mayotte, even though we saw nary a whale or dolphin, and even though we had engine trouble that delayed our departure and our return (contrary winds, read "nonexistant," remember?), we had a good time. I'm glad we went.

Once we got back, it was time to cook and clean for the going away party. I cooked too much. We have leftovers out the wazoo, but that means I don't have to worry about cooking as we pack up and move to Lionel's house for our last week here in Mayotte.

Speaking of moving, I've got to get to sorting and packing. We vacate the house tomorrow afternoon because NIGHT DIVING, baby, tomorrow at sunset. It'll be my second time and Julien's first. I'm psyched. I'll wax ecstatic on Tuesday if we have the net at L's house.

There are good things, many of them, amidst the bustle and sadness of leaving our home of the past three years.


Long time gone

Back when I said things should be back up and running in the "middle of the month," I should have clarified that I meant middle of June. *wails*

That's right; we still don't have a new graphics card, but I've installed a new radiator fan and have removed the side of the CPU so that I might blast the whole system with a standing fan. Yeah, not the best solution considering all the dust it lets into the system. But you do what you gotta do to use the pc. 

I feel like I've been disconnected forever, so here's my assorted news:


And now you know the highlights and low-lights of my past few weeks. Well, almost. I forgot to mention the centipede in the bed. On my leg.  Thankfully, I shooed it off without getting stung; because of that, I even felt guilty for smashing its guts out. C'est la vie. Or c'est la mort. Whatever. Anyway, it begs the question: Why me??? J has yet to get bitten or harassed by the critters. It's always me.

Today...

...I set both The Bitter River and Witherwilds aside, or rather, I've stopped writing new prose in order to do more research and planning. I'm still authoring, just not writing. I hope to set my hands to crafting new words on April 1st, and I ain't fooling.

...mana_triniand I went diving. Lovely, flat lagoon, fascinating seascapes, bad visibility. Lots of interesting sea slugs and coral formations.

...is the day jpsorrow launched the Plot Synopsis Project. If you want to read how authors sold their books and what the synopses looked like that landed them the deals, this is your chance.

 

It isn't fear; it's physical

After more than a month of no diving, J and I went for an afternoon dive yesterday. Because there weren't many people on the boat, the instructor said he would take us down to 40 meters. As level two divers, we can go to 20m with a partner, but anything deeper must be done with supervision.

Yesterday, I can tell you, I was happy to have an instructor with me.

We swam down very rapidly and there was a strong current. All the sudden I started having trouble breathing. We were at 36m. Well, I thought, this is weird, I haven't been putting out enough effort to be out of breath. Another three meters down and I thought, this is wrong; I need to tell Daniel (the instructor) that I have a problem.

If any of you are divers, you know that the CO2 toxicity can happen in a few seconds. I'm not an experienced enough diver, and I guess I didn't pay enough attention during my level two training, to have had the reflex to completely empty my lungs. The CO2 toxicity was aggravated by narcosis, which can alter your perceptions and make you do stupid stuff.

Well, I go Daniel's attention and he started taking me back towards the surface. My hands were trembling and my fingertips felt like they were on fire. I was having black flashes across my vision and difficulty getting a good breath. I wasn't afraid, however, because I was sure that Daniel would take care of me. I asked him to give me his underwater writing slate and pencilled the message: "Ce n'est pas le peur; c'est physique." (the title of this message) I needed to write that because, as I've mentioned before, diving scares me, though I haven't been scared in quite some time. I didn't want him to think I was panicking. If I'm panicked, I'll admit it, but it was important to me that he understand that this time it was not fear. It didn't help me relax and get my breathing under control to think that I had ruined the dive for everyone else.

We didn't get out of the water directly but continued the dive at 15m. We can a really cool crab (It was cream colored with darker speckles and had a very high-domed back, almost like the top of an egg. It burrowed vertically into the sand every time we uncovered it) and an enormous humpheaded (?) parrotfish. It was about three foot long and Daniel said it is a "little one, an adolescent."

So, the dive started off poorly, but finished okay.

Now I know what narcosis feels like and CO2 toxicity and I don't wish to repeat either.

BTW, the narcosis symptoms vary from person to person. J got blurry tunnel vision and felt light-headed.

Tags:

The long tunnel that was November

...actually has a light at the end of it. Diving tests, J's job and his tests, sickness, painful anniversaries, writing, I made it through it all--or I will have once I reach that 50K mark that signals the success of NaNo.

A breadown

Diving:
After 2 additional dives, J and I got our level two validated--or the practical part, anyhow. We took the written test for the theory, and we still haven't gotten our results back. Despite that, when we went diving yesterday, the monitor "turned us loose" with a level three and we went by ourselves. We were supposed to go from bouy 10 to 8, but the level three had a camera and we took our time. D, the dive monitor, told us not to stay longer than an hour underwater, so we surfaced exactly 60 minutes later and had only made it to bouy 9. :D

J's job:
J is now the holder of a "permit hauteurier," which means he can navigate anywhere around the world. He has three more weeks of training on the police boat coming up.

The Mayotte branch of the French police is the same, organization-wise, as the metropolitan police. J waited two days for his score after taking the test for his licence, and the chief still hadn't called him. So, J took the initiative to call, and the guy says, "Oh, yeah, I had the results the same day and called everyone else. Must've forgotten you." Then, the other day, the same chief calls and says, "You are supposed to work at 4, but you have to go shooting at 1:30." J: No one told me that.
Chief: Yeah, I just learned it myself. Well, in fact, I've known for two days. Just forgot to call you.

So, yeah, organized.

Health:
We are over the icky colds now, and the funky red patch on the back of my hand has faded. It should be gone in a few more days. I've been having headaches too regularly for comfort, but I suppose it is because of the heat. I need to drink more water.

Writing:
NaNo is almost over and I'm sitting pretty at almost 45K I never thought I could do 50k in a month. I know the quality is seriously lacking, but it is nice just being able to lay out the bones of a story. I'm going to have to do major revisions to get it into good enough shape to share with even the most understanding of critters, but bones! Forty-five thousand of them! Yay!

Animal Update:
Kittencat has now been christened N'djema (easier to pronounce than it looks), which is Shimaoré for "good." Kind of a multipurpose word, really. She is out and about and doing well. Our other two cats have more and less accepted her. Tiboy, more. Max, less. Tiboy is now playing with her. Games of chase abound. Max just hisses at her when he thinks she has invaded his personal space long enough. Today is the last day of the fungus medication--Or is it tomorrow? I have to check--and then she can go to the vet for her tattoo and vaccination. After that, Kittencat for Adoption posters will go up around the islands.

I know I don't blog about my pets much, but since Thanksgiving just passed, I'll say that I'm grateful Tiboy is still alive. Thursday he had a run-in with a scooter. He hit the wheel face first and lost a little skin off of his upper lip. An inch closer and I'm afraid we would have been burying him. He hid under the terrace for the better part of the day and I couldn't see what the damage was, but he has since recovered and has even resumed playing tag with N'djema.

Coming up for air

Being in the middle of passing my second level in scuba diving and trying to do NaNo makes for a busy me. My NaNo totals haven't been as impressive as I would like, but I knew they wouldn't be at the beginning of the month with so much else going on. Let's just get the stats out of the way, shall we?

Progress.

Now, things have slowed down a tad on the diving front, and I'm sick (extreme fatigue, sore throat, some congestion, funky dark red patch on the back of my left hand). Seems like life and my body are always out to get me in November.

On a more positive front, yesty, J and I did our first "deep water" dive--down to 41,2m (135.17ft) Guess what we saw? Our first SHARK! Woohoo! Well, it wasn't the very first we've ever swam with. There were baby ones in the lagoon around the island we stayed on in the Maldives, but this was the biggest at about four feet.

I hope I'm well by Saturday, seeing as how we have a double dive excursion planned. And if things go to plan, we should get our level two validated.

ETA
Being the selfish shellfish that I am, I haven't been keeping up with LJ. If you need to get my attention or pull my focus away from my navel, email me or comment on one of my entries.

Just a few...

Did you know...

Did you know that we don't have hot water in our house?  The only hot showers mana_trini and I have had since we've been here have been the first night in the bed and breakfast and at the hotel where we went for my birthday.

Did you know that I'm afraid to scuba dive, but I do it anyway?  The fear doesn't last for the whole dive, only for the first few minutes when I'm going underwater and I realize I'm no longer in control of when I can surface.  I'm a self-proclaimed control freak.  However, the last two dives have been fear-free.  Maybe I can overcome it after all.

Did you know that we don't have any glass in our "windows" just shutters?

Did you know that the Mahorais (specifically Fatoumia, the neighbor lady who gives me language lessons) think we are Weird to eat coconuts for dessert and not as an everyday cooking staple?

I know you don't know that I just found a pair of tweezers and a gaudy-looking, Christmas-y ornament in the fake plant that the previous renters (the owner?) left behind.

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