The curtains at our hotel were like the curtains in Las Vegas - made out of lead or something. So when we woke up it was 9:30 - very different from the usual 6:00 wake up! We rushed through showers and packing and walked up to the Jesuit Residence House to meet the others. After loading the pickup (most of our diving equipment had been dumped there) we - Sue, Matang, Eleanor, Stacy, and I - made couple quick stops at grocery stores to get provisioned then began the long drive out to the boat pickup. The ride out took forever as the pickup was loaded pretty much to it capacity so the road had to be navigated carefully.
By the time we got there we were at least fifteen minutes late, but no boat. We sat in a family's Nos (a roof with benches on three sides) and waited. and waited, and waited - for over three hours. It was a pleasant reminder of the value of patience. We had lunch, played with a kitten and puppy, and finally napped or read. The water was flat so the ride out was quick - I was again amazed at how the boat driver follows these poles stuck in the shallow reef to find his way through - there were places where the opening were within inches of being too small!
At the island we quickly unloaded the boat and spread out - as much as you can on an island that's maybe 200 feet in diameter. I sat at a little table and looked out at the channel - another small island directly across, surf breaking on the exposed side of the island to the left (Black Coral is a barrier island), and the main island of Pohnpei to the right. The water was an incredible turquoise color - paradise! After settling in to our huts - Stacy and I were in the same stilted hut over the water that we stayed in last year - we made diner. The tuna tacos were fantastic and afterwards we sat under the stars looking out at the water and drank wine. I decided I needed a shower so I borrowed Stacy's "Sea Suds" and waded out in to the water. The soap was awesome - biodegradable and lathers in salt water. The water was even better, warm and soothing, I laid on my back for awhile and looked at the incredible array of stars - I love that you can see both the Big Dipper and the Southern Cross from the tropics!
After a quick rinse with fresh water I was ready for bed. As I laid down my stomach started to feel a little upset. The discomfort quickly grew until it hurt way to much to sleep. I tossed and turned but was unable to sleep. I finally got up and wandered around the island (the local families dogs did not like this). Sometime after midnight I realized that I was having one of my stomach episodes. These have hit me four or five times in the last year - my stomach hurts so bad that I can't sleep for eight hours, then goes away. Last time I went to a doctor, surgeon, and the ER - a lot of very expensive and even more uncomfortable tests were done but at the end all the surgeon could say was that it wasn't my appendix (though he wanted to take it out anyway). Anyway I accepted that I had another bad three or four hours to go and continued in turn tossing and turning and wandering around the island.