I hiked along the path of coral that looked charred by centuries, millennia, of sun. Beyond I could hear the breakers on the reef. Coconuts lay decaying where they had fallen, small brown lizards leaping among the husks. We had spent the day swimming in the pale blue water, sprawled on the rough dead coral beach, the waves lapping with the sound of tiny bells. It was the kind of solitude that wrapped itself around you, loathe to let go. Everything else seemed beside the point.
A dissonant bird call sounded from the trees in the fading light. The sun, obscured by clouds, dropped suddenly below the horizon.
Early the next morning, Adam went to the bow and began to pull up the anchor without the windlass, the muscles in his shoulders flexing.
Later, we beached the dinghy near a pearl farm. It was Sunday morning. The family jumped up to greet us. They all said few words in French. We were a welcome diversion. Maybe customers. The woman had gotten up from counting pearls. We could see them lying in luminous pools on a picnic table. Instead we bought eggs.