There wasn’t much information in the brochure about nighttime on the island. They said to bring a headlamp, but didn’t mention that you hardly ever need it — I only used it on the rare, velvety-dark, moonless nights. In fact, if I recall correctly, in all those pages of web and print content, Slickrock never once mentioned the moonlight on the island!
So imagine my surprise one night upon first undertaking the trek to the “facilities” in the middle of the night, and discovering a wonderland completely unhinted at during the day.
Moonlight dusted the island. Not as bright as day, of course, but bright! And the moon was only half-full that night. Silver light reflected off the white, packed-sand public areas, and I could see everything. I could see the palapas, the dock, and the surf break in the distance. But most hypnotizingly, I could see the shadows of the coconut palms. Straight trunks, curving fronds nodding in the breeze, shadows moving like a cat’s tail caressing the sand. The floor looked like a living silhouette, like a puppet shadow play in the tropical style; palm trunks regularly spaced, curved fronds connecting them, creating dark pathways across the sand. And not a (human) soul in sight.
That night, and many nights, I didn’t need that headlamp at all. I could see everything as I explored by moonlight. I could see hermit crabs slamming their shells down around themselves when they spotted me, and blue land crabs frantically sprinting back to their burrows with a nervous clacketing when THEY spotted me. I could see Papillon, the island’s enigmatic black bunny, come hopping up to me, hop in a circle around me, stop, hop in a circle around me the other direction, and hop away. Wait, did something special just happen?
It’s an atmosphere you need only your eyes and your heart to observe. It purrs, “Don’t go back to bed yet.”
So you wander off toward the middle of the coconut palm orchard, between the “facilities” and the sea kayak palapa. Halfway there you realize — “Wow, this is exciting! What if I were a spy, sneaking up on the dining palapa? Could I make it?” And the urge to slip invisibly from tree shadow to tree shadow becomes overwhelming. Sneak, sneak, a kid again in the moonlight. Don’t let them see you!
Or maybe this is a night for just walking around awhile, absorbing, trying to record and remember how the moonlight feels.
So much of the island is not really about the island, but about how it makes you feel. For a week, it’s your island, your moonlight, your black bunny. Explore it! After all, everybody else went to bed right after dinner, right? ;-)
Only the moon is watching.
-Susan B., a recent guest in January of 2012