Not many travellers make it to the Marshall Islands – usually the ones who do they have flying benefits or a goal to visit every country in the world. Rumours say the Marshall Islands are the fifth least visited country in the world. I don’t know how true that statement is but it’s a shame as the islands are beautiful, remote, affordable (once you get there) and have lots to offer especially if you stay a little bit longer.
Proudly I’ve made it to the Marshall Islands and I’ve already seen the capital. Now the time has come to explore the ‘neighbourhood’. The most convenient day tour to the nearby island, which was offered by one of the hotels (sorry, no tourist agencies in Majuro), was a trip to Eneko Island Resort. Located in Majuro Lagoon, the resort was only 40 minutes away from the city. Perfect as a quick getaway from the bustling (as per the remote islands standards) capital to the tranquility and beauty of nature.
Money. Yes… traveling and money. You can calculate, make plans, try to estimate in advance how much you need – at the end of the day the spendings you go thorough…the process of spending/saving is always a bit of a lottery. My trip to Eneko Island cost me only 30 USD for a day trip. This price made me very happy. It was the most obvious that my credit card will have a serious work out later during my Pacific trip – the price you pay for fame is never low and iconic places can’t come cheap, right Bora Bora? So with the utmost pleasure I let my credit card relax and get lazy in the Marshall Islands.
Fine – the price was great. 30 USD. But what could I get in return for the price like that? I was a bit sceptical and a bit caution not to put my expectations too high – just to avoid a potential disappointment. And honestly the idea of a resort (Eneko Island Resort) wasn’t very tempting neither. So just in case I cleaned my mind out of any unnecessary overly-optimistic assumptions and the next day, early morning I made it to the port to see what the whole trip was all about. I reached there and the small boat was waiting ready for me. There was a small boat – great. There was a captain (I named him ‘Captain Cook’ immediately – like my old, good XVIII century friend James Cook obviously) – also great. And there was I and the captain – and no one else. So two of us sailing in the middle of nowhere to reach the Eneko Island. At the beginning I was quite doubtful about my safety: me and the Captain Cook only. As I said – no one else. Very safe, yes very safe. No other choice though, we started the journey, just two of us – the journey into many misconceptions, misleading presumptions and hours of conversations to create some kind of a bridge of understanding between our concepts and ideas. It turned out to be amazing. And safe.
As I discovered very quickly I was not the only one worried about the limited number of people attending the day tour to the Eneko. I was worried about my own safety but the Captain was worried about my safety – and sanity I guess – even more. From the moment I boarded his small kingdom (the boat I mean) my Captain Cook made it his primary goal to cheer me up (did I look sad?) and to provide me the best entertainment in the form of his jokes and funny comments. He was so worried I would be bored, he didn’t want to accept my arguments that being alone was not the same as being lonely.
Was I sad that I was alone? Of course I was a little bit. Should I have stayed home and never gone to the Pacific just because I felt a bit sad from time to time – never ever. The Captain couldn’t understand why I decided to travel solo. He couldn’t understand how I enjoyed my own company and how happy the whole trip made me feel.
The 40 minute journey between Majuro and the Eneko Island was like a scene from the movie. We kept passing impossibly beautiful small islands, tiny dots in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. There was something almost repelling about the beauty of that place. How come these islands can be so sexy, picturesque and alluring at the same time? It was impossible not to fall in love with them – the elegance of the shapes and the loveliness of the colours were totally irresistible.
I understood the worries of the Captain once we reached the resort. It was a ghost place, once filled with guests and tourists. The place felt like an abandoned hotel, full of memories and evidences of a glorious past but with no perspectives for tomorrow. I had the whole island just for myself and it really freaked the Captain out. He wanted me to have fun. To have fun in that youthful, careless way – full of friends, loud music, wine and probably a handsome guy to make out with behind some palm tree. Well of course I wouldn’t mind that, but the reality was different. And for me, at that time that reality was great. The objects of desire change with the situation given. I was alone, I had no wine nor friends next to me, but still I had a time of my life.
Couple of hours on the island passed very quickly. The Captain was a great partner in conversation about our different lifestyles, desires, fears and hopes. I guess until today he believes I was some weirdo who decided (only God knows why) to follow my peculiar dreams but I know he derived a lot of pleasure from our meeting and our discussion. I enjoyed it very much too. I was grateful for the things he said and for the amount of care he took of me. He was teasing my taste buds with pandanus fruit (in shape similar to pineapple, in taste similar to nothing) and in the mean time he gave me enough of freedom to benefit from the emptiness of the island. The perfect balance and the best thing I could ask for.
To sum up the trip was a very uneventful but truly tantalising journey at the same time. These two qualities rarely come in pair. But then when you think about it – it is a combination made in heaven: an empty mind ready to explore new ideas and an empty island ready to give you the best circumstances to do so. The moments like that are the most fruitful in finding solutions to the problems we carry in us, in finding answers to the questions we are normally afraid to ask and in giving us the confidence to start new projects like for example this one. Bon chic, Bon voyage.