As always, there comes a time on a dive trip that we all dislike. Rinsing, drying and packing our gear for the return home. Mind you, the crew did the rinsing. And a tremendous job at that. They opened everything up, rinsed it clean inside and out, and hung it to dry. All that was left for us to do was to pack it in our bags for our departure later this morning.
We were up shortly after five, and got to see our last sunrise in Palau from the Ocean Hunter III. Captain Ken had returned, and Captain Troy was back at the Ocean Hunter I. Ken’s daughter graduated from high school last night. From the look on his face, Ken appeared shell shocked. Turns out the celebration dinner involved an extra seven for whom he had not budgeted. His daughter will start at the community college in Palau, and is looking to transfer over after two years to Hawaii. I promised a friendly family for her when and if she arrives. We settled our tab at Fish n Fins, and proceeded to our “discount motel.” Believe it or not, it is indeed quiet (mostly), clean, and the air definitely works in the rooms. And for a bargain basement price. Although not my first choice of places to stay, it is on the list for possible residency on our next trip, which Wayne is already planning for post-bar exam. I may be a nervous wreck by then.
We waited at the DW, and I wasn’t able to log into the internet, so we went over to Rock Island Cafe. Most unfortunately, their formerly promiscuous router was now safely guarded and the SSID fairly well hidden. And it was once again password enabled. Since there was no internet, and we weren’t hungry, we headed back to the DW to wait for our room, or for hunger to strike, whichever came first. As life would have it, hunger came first, and we went across to the Rock Island Cafe for lunch. It used to be a haven for ex-pats, but it has gained significant popularity with the local populace. We had small pupus, the sashimi was particularly nice, and then settled for a decent lunch. I felt sort of guilty in that I didn’t believe that I had earned my lunch since we hadn’t already completed two dives! But we were both still hungry.
After lunch, it was still far too hot to walk down main street Koror to go to the drugstore for more ibuprofin and benedryl, so we went up to the room, logged in, checked up on email, etc. I tried to check on my grades, but they had not yet been posted. Who knows how long that will take, and why should I worry myself about them anyway until I have returned to Hawaii?
I did reach out back to the CASA program, and to one mental health professional invovled in my case. There is not much I can do to answer questions before our return next week, but I will certainly try.
The exhaustion of the week finally hit us both in mid afternoon, coincidentally when the sun was at its strongest. We took a half an hour nap, and awoke to a note from Jodi and Matt on the door - they went to the Coffee Beanery to get some beverages and free internet. We may try that tomorrow.
We left the hotel later, about an hour before dinner, and went up to the WCTC shopping center where we hit the pharmacy (benedryl, ibuprofin, ankle brace), and then Ben Franklin (I got a case for my new sunglasses, which came courtesy of Jodi). And then it was down and off to dinner at the Taj, where we had reservations for seven. Wayne, Matt, Jodi, Carl, Don, Valerie and I were seated at a round table, and we dissected the menu. Robert Scaria, the owner, informed me of some shortages on the menu. Apparently, there had been a large contingent of Chinese on island previously, and they had scarfed down all the lobsters (luckily not on my ordering list). They had also drunk all of the Kingfisher beer! It seems every time we come to Palau, the Kingfisher (Indian brew) is gone. Oh well, Red Rooster on tap it was. I ordered the half portion of leg of lamb, Wayne the eggplant, Matt and Jodi the tandoori mixed grill, Carl some shish kebabs, and Don and Valerie split the mangrove chilli (sic) crab. We could have fed a small country in Africa (or all of India) with the amount of food that came out to the table. The half portion of lamb was something of the size King Henry VIII would have eaten. I should have taken a picture of that table, but I think I was in shock. The conversation was animated and engaging, and I won’t go down the rabbit hole, but the majority of us at the table wondered how Don was able to keep Valerie so sheltered for the majority of her adult life…speaking of certain kinds of hammocks...
At the end of the meal, Robert sent over after dinner drinks that seemed to be a mixture of amaretto and sour mash. Tasty, cold, and easy to go down. From there, we bade our farewells amongst one another, with email addresses exchanged. Then it was waddle time back to the DW, and time to get ready for bed. Tomorrow we are on our own schedule, and I am planning for it to be a slow day.