Trip Start Nov 13, 2009
8Trip End Dec 05, 2010
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
Tranquility Island Resort
Trying to leave was the hardest part. She's known something was up for a while – since we pulled out the backpacks. As time grew short, and we were closer to leaving the bond between us grew and she became so clingy, hardly leaving our sides. She was constantly keeping one eye on us at all times, afraid we might desert her at any moment.
Maybe I should backtrack a bit. Bear is our nine month old puppy, a beautiful and wild "bitza" we found near the beginning of our year on Moso Island. Walking along the resorts’ path, Steve heard a whimpering coming from somewhere in the jungle. He followed the cries, and found a little brown fluff ball, wedged in the V of a tree trunk – just high enough off the ground that neither front nor back legs could touch. He brought her to our place, and we immediately started looking online for what to feed such a small puppy
To say the least, nine months flew past. Bear (who we named because she looked just like a tiny grizzly cub – no longer, with THAT NOSE of hers!) stayed with us, and we – Steve and I, the staff, T’ana, and all the resort guests – grew attached.
So now it comes down to us heading off to Santo...only for a week, but it’s as if this is the trial run for when we leave for good, and Bear goes to live with Steve’s mum and sister (to whom she is VERY attached, thankfully)
The morning we were leaving the island, she was scrambling into the dinghy as we loaded in our bags. Because of the resort, she knows that bags in the boat mean people leave and they don’t come back. That was the harshest part, was that she understood – she’s a smart dog and she understood that we were leaving and she wasn’t allowed to come. The part she didn’t understand was why. I had to stand on the edge of the beach and hold the bow while Steve started the outboard; the whole time she was jumping up with her front legs, and her little back paws, soaking wet were clawing against the metal to get a grip. I was telling her to stay as we reversed from the beach, but as we were driving away she ran, chasing us down the length of the jetty. She got to the end, and paced up and down, barking and howling. This heart-wrenching howl, like a child wailing, hopeless. I could hear her crying to us and even when we got too far to hear we could still see her, this sad little brown form watching and waiting for us to turn around and come back. Just when she was fading from sight, the outboard coughed, sputtered, then died. Out of fuel! (Did I mention someone siphoned the fuel out of the dinghy tank to use in the gene, minutes before we departed?). And with the prevailing winds, we just started drifting – slowly but directly – back towards Moso, back towards Bear. She saw us coming, and was running up and down the beach crying and howling. We could only imagine what she was feeling – deserted, confused – how could we love her so much one night and the next morning just stop. That was the worst thing, that she might feel we`d stopped loving her. As we got closer to the beach (this may sound bad) we decided to try the outboard again, this time with one of us holding the fuel can high in the air
After we returned from Santo, we spent another couple weeks with Bear, in town and on Moso Island and an already strong bond has somehow strengthened even more. She was with us at all times, keeping an even closer watch on us. One day, we planned to do a dive from the kayaks, paddling out to the site mooring and tying onto it before descending. As soon as we packed the dive gear into the kayaks, Bear jumped in the backseat of one, refusing to move. She got distracted, so we headed into the water; she realised and started running down the beach howling. We thought we could paddle along and just tie up to the mooring but she began swimming out to the kayaks. Steve paddled towards shore and picked her up by the scruff of her neck. We ended up doing a beach dive with her climbing on us as we tried to go out from shore. She stayed on the beach, and sat in the front seat of the kayak the whole way back – which was pretty choppy.
All of these are reasons why we’re planning to send Bear home, no matter what. She won’t be able to stay on the island, or we’d never take her away from it. She’d have to live with a new family in Port Vila, a horrible place to be a dog. We couldn’t leave her behind.