I hesitate at the waters edge. Warm salty water sneaks up on my feet and threatens to soak my pants as I contemplate my next step onto the boat waiting for me. Trying to stay dry is challenging on this island, and I clearly picked the wrong outfit (pants jumpsuit) to go out in high tide tonight. Strong arms scoop me up, resolving my dilemma and effortlessly carry me onto the boat, setting me down among the locals en route to Ampang. High tide carries us quickly to the island village and I jump off the boat as the tides pulls back, running to shore, heading to meet my friends for some music – the only thing to do on weekend night in Nosy Komba.
The bar fills up with locals, each adding a beat, an instrument, and life filling up the bar with Malagasy music and dancing. The happy Malagasy reggaeton beats make it impossible not to move. Our music circle expands with drums, maracas, and guitar as we dance cheerfully into the sticky night, moving barefoot to the upbeat drums. In an instant the temperature drops and a breeze starts to dry the permanent beads of sweat on my forehead. Violet rain, a proper tropical storm, follows the cool breeze and pours sideways into our bungalow bar as the drum circle breaks and scatters to the back, running for dry refuge. Lights blow, dancing with us and mist from the rain cools us off as the happy beats resume.
Somehow, I must get home in this downpour and I have two options – and find a boat back to my hut or walk back in the middle of the night at low tide. I run through the flooded town barefoot, splashing through puddles nearly up to my knees. My toes dig into the mud, kicking up dirty water as I run for the boat, shaking my dripping hair, laughing at my earlier avoidance of the water, my hesitantly to get the bottom of pants wet. We slide in the mud, avoiding the small rocks strewn across our path and wade out into the ocean, jumping/ falling over the slippery side of our boat in the rain.
It’s completely dark but for a small light near the motor in back of the boat. Our skipper navigates blindly the dark ocean, steering the boat expertly in the rain. We speed over the waves, bobbing up and down, rain hits us in the face as we race through the night. I embrace the wet wind, the rain on my face, my wet hair blowing back, whipping my neck, smiling into the night, feeling the freedom of being on a boat in the rain. I jump into the ocean as the boat miraculously navigates us back to our bungalow in the dark and slosh up to my hut in a soaking wet jumpsuit. Laying in my damp bed I find myself smiling at the unexpected enjoyment of the rainy night, decidedly my favorite night on Nosy Komba.