In the wilderness lies the preservation of the world.
Henry David Thoreau
Meet the Neighbors
The sounds of the sea. We have waited a long time to get here to Porcher Island, and to wake up to the sound of the sea. From my tent I look directly to the rising tide, which rises up out of the delta.
To orient myself and get to know the area, we take a walk in the morning. We walk along the beach to the “neighbors”, an old American couple who has been living alone and independently here on Porcher Island since 1975. Initially they shoo us away indirectly, (“It’s not about us. We don’t talk much, we enjoy the privacy, otherwise we wouldn’t live here.”) but afterwards they invite us to their farm, and tell us about the background and history of Porcher Island and the region where we would like to buy new land in order to protect it. They end our meeting by saying they would be happy to have us as neighbors, since we want to protect the area.
We continue on, since we have not yet been in the forest.
We step into the green. The forest is covered with moss, ferns and typical swamp plants. We fight through the thicket which is, in places, about 3 meters tall, and often stop in wonder at the peat moss and other plants, whose names only Fabian, our biologist and photographer can explain… they sound more like magical spells from Harry Potter. After about two hours, we come out of the forest after, we think we are close to the camp. Wrong. We advanced about 100 meters and walked in circles several times. To find one’s way in the rainforest is an art.
We climb up on the high moors. Porcher Island is well-known for its moors, which are like small oases in the forest. It is very humid and wet, and a lot of mosses in various colors and lichen and flowers as far as the eye can see. The small trees that break up the landscape are not taller than about a meter, but they are already several hundred years old. We walk uphill for a while, until we have the perfect view of the ocean. It’s very odd, at the bottom the ocean with a beach, behind that rainforest, and up here the high moors. But everything is unique and beautiful. The photos we take can only badly replicate the unspeakable beauty here.
On the way down the hill we see an otter den just before we reach the ocean. Its inhabitants look at us as we walk away. We are tired from the hike and the new impressions. We will sit down at the campfire, cook dinner and enjoy the view. The way we woke up is the way we will go to sleep – with the sound of the ocean in the background. We are happy to be here.