I could see him. He had stopped near the bottom and was just standing there. Oh, please don’t open the ziplock bag and try to turn on my camera. The thought of it was making me anxious so I started calling to him. He turned and looked up at me with a grim your-camera-is-F@#$% sort of look. He made his way back up and over the gap to me. He gave me the bag and I pulled out the ziplock with the camera inside. It was wet but not swimming. I tried to turn it on but to no avail. Cait’iko nomu yaco, magatinamu! I shared my fluency in Fijian swears not really directing it at anything in particular. Oddly enough, though I was upset I was not nearly as upset as I thought I should be. Maika was devastated; he felt terrible because he thought it was his fault. I told him not be ridiculous that he was carrying my bag to help me, that he was physically helping me traverse this absurd rock face so that I wouldn’t be the thing falling off, and that I definitely didn’t blame him.
So, on we went. All ten feet of it. After all that, there was only ten more feet of available ledge before the wall became impossible to continue along. We looked up. The top of the canyon was only about four feet above my head but it was pushing out towards us and unfortunately the top of the wall was not flat but continued on into a steep hill scattered with trees, strewn leaves and covered in slippery mud. Even if we made it to the top with out falling off the rock backwards, if we slipped during the trek up the following hill it would likely take us careening all the way back down and over the edge with no option to stop ourselves on the ledge we were currently standing on. I looked at him and we both agreed that we had been stupid enough for one day and turned around to go back the way we came.
The rest of our bush hike was pleasant enough, except for sustaining several dozen bee-sting like bites from some evil, clever, little, black ants that were crawling every where. We couldn’t stop for thirty seconds without letting out a yelp of pain. We crossed several more rivers and struggled up some hills so steep that we practically had to hop our way up from tree trunk to tree trunk. Meanwhile, Maika was pointing out pig footprints dried into the mud and showed me where a pig had just eaten, pointing out the details that made it clear a pig had been there recently.
Eventually, we crested our last hill and were standing atop one of the mountain ridges. We came upon a road that led to Coqe but we opted to skip our rest and just to reroute back home. It took another two hours from there but it was easy going with beautiful views of misty mountains to the north and turquoise blue waters defining the coral reef to the south. So, our pig hunt turned into more of a ridiculous, occasionally dangerous, thoroughly enjoyable, and rather exhausting adventure. Maika was so impressed that I was able to trek along with him so far and not complain or say that I wanted to go back once. I just smiled and told him that he shouldn’t be too shocked, that I am actually quite capable of doing a bit more that just spending a day stuck to my floorboards. Sometimes I just need a good friend to get me out!