Roger Knight has submitted all of his five entries in one go. As he explains:
'They are all based on actual events, at different times in my life. I enjoyed writing these, 'to bring to bloom the million petalled flower of being here', to quote Philip Larkin.'
Spearing a Kingfish, is a real tussle and thrill, given their valiant fight for survival, strength and size. Not unlike trying to land a Marlin.
With a Kingfish, the fight is at much closer quarters. The trick is to put your hand into their gills and hold tightly on to them, before bringing them to the surface.
But this comes at a price.
Impaled on a spear, the distress of a dying fish, transforms the hunter into the hunted, as a shark can be easily alerted to this many miles away, quickly homing in on it’s newly identified prey.
Just off the south shore, thirty or so Sperm whales had gathered. I was immediately in awe of this marine mammal armada, lying as though at anchor, so close to the island.
They had enormous box like heads, that were squared off, and some were shooting columns of water high into the air through their blow holes, like a collection of geysers.
They all seemed to be in such gentle repose, despite appearing like some alien invasion force.
In the muggy darkness, we gear up for the long reef walk out, where sting rays dart away from under our feet.
Finally, we drop down on to the Mecca, just as dawn breaks, spreading shafts of light that slowly dispels the darkness.
In her reclining position of final rest, in over 30 metres at her bow, she still holds her ill fated cargo of rotting silk, that wave, like frayed coloured ribbons among the soft corals and fish that have now assumed permanent residence in this converted aquarium.
At the time, what created the most disquiet for me, at the height of the unrest, was not the unofficial road blocks manned by masked youths, the rubbish collecting in the streets, or even the Saudi militia flexing their muscle, but the visceral chanting at night.
Like an anthem of subjugation, it’s potent protest would reverberate through me, to such an extent, that I had to wear earplugs, in order to get any sleep.
The energy conveyed, from the Shia villages around, felt so powerful, that no amount of tear gas, birdshot or military intervention could stop it.
Nothing is more nightmarish, that to succumb to some debilitating tropical illness far from home. For me, this experience was made worse, as, back in the early 70’s, the only hospital in Port Moresby, was a leprosorium.
Waiting to be seen by the doctor, among the lepers, with their melted faces and withered limbs, along with Papuan women, suckling piglets with their bare breasts, made me think that this was a fate worse than death.
In my hand, I desperately clutched my appointment card, which to my further horror, was in fact intended for use as a morgue tag.
I have lived and worked in around 15 countries and having recently retired, I have finally got around to writing about some of my experiences spent in several exotic and far flung destinations. I have spent a third of my life in Australasia, so consequently have quite a bit of varied experience to draw from, as regards that region of the world.