We took the familiar steps up the doghouse staircase only to be greeted by a fresh torrential downpour to the face. No need for a cup coffee, the thousands of drops that pellet you in face were a sufficient wake up. The ITCZ had moved straight over us and with it came intense periods of wind and rain. Despite the weather project groups still mustered and went out to the various corals, another group went to tour the lagoons and handful stepped onto land.
As the moon the rose in the sky the real festivities began, a Palmyra bbq that would serve both as a celebration and farewell to friends. When we say bbq of course we mean tropical bbq. We did not have angus burgers but fish burgers, no chips but instead sashimi soaked in a ginger soy sauce. We sat and feasted together in the Palmyra galley with its roof giving everyone reprieve from the rain but as our bellies satiated the rain dissipated and we moved the bbq to North Shore. With no rain in sight we built a bonfire furled with a combination of spare wood and coconut husks.
As soon as people got settled and flames of the fire danced around the pit, Walter Torres pulled out his soccer ball and soon the first ever Palmyra North Shore Soccer Game began. The goal posts were sprouted coconuts and the boundaries were the ocean and a line that marked the high tide. Students dribbled the ball dodging not only the opposing team but hermit crabs that littered the beach. With only moonlight lighting the pitch the game went on for an hour with students rotating between the game and gazing into bonfire.
As the night was drawing to an end and moonlight futbol finished we all gathered together for some closing thoughts. With the first leg over Its time for a few of our friends and mentors Joe, Elliot, and Kakani to say goodbye. With the rays of the moon serving as pseudo spotlight loving goodbye and speeches were spoken. Shortly afterwards with all musicians assembled Elliot and the others lead us in beautiful rendition of “I’m leaving on Jet Plane” and the crackle of a dying fire masked all of our own crackled voices as the reality of goodbye finally sank in.