No, I’m not on Cocos Island anymore; I’m in that other world now, that world outside of the island. I long to go back, I yearn to return to the Wafer Bay Station. I miss the routine, miss the bleary-eyed walk up to the Big House under the overloaded coconut palms in early morning light for breakfast, Filander’s cheerful “Buenos Dias”, the heaping plate of pinto, the morning meeting. I miss Golfin’s 5:30 am whoops of delight that rouses me long before my alarm, and chess games with Roberto in the evening and the Cocos finches fluttering and twittering around the big house in an eternal quest for crumbs. I miss those clear nights, when I would walk out onto the beach and look up at the myriad stars and at the broad band of the Milky Way, a view unmarred by light pollution and the noise of traffic, only the occasional cloud passing overhead. I miss the steady rhythm of the waves rocking Cocos Patrol, the chirping crickets that would lull me to sleep, and the sound of crabs scurrying across the sand when I stood still for a moment on the beach. I miss the remoteness, the feeling of disconnectedness and peace it was possible to attain. I miss living and working in, around, and with virgin wilderness.
But thanks to the incredible generosity of Avi Klapfer, Alan Steenstrup, The Undersea Hunter Group and Sea Save Foundation, it’s only goodbye for now. I’ll be returning to the island aboard the Sea Hunter in mid-December, this time not in the capacity of a volunteer but as a diver. I will don my fins, mask, wetsuit , and tank to explore the submarine world that the park guards are working so hard to protect.