I grabbed a Ziploc bag of Lucky Strikes and headed to the deck. My plan: present the cigarettes to the island’s chiefs, take a look around, and – assuming it was the Paradise I pretty much expected it to be – ask if I could stay.

Given the Microspirit’s tight schedule, I’d have only an hour to make a good impression, ask for permission to stay, and rush back to the boat to get my bag of clothes and books. But I was too focused on my slipping thu to notice the absurdity of the plan. I’m pretty sure what my answer would have been had a guy from Yap showed up at my door and said, “Do you mind if I stay here? I have this idea of Paradise, and it looks almost exactly like your apartment.”

To actually get the last quarter mile to Pig I had to take the Microspirit’s dinghy, a sort of Nanospirit, which rocked in the waves 35 feet below the deck. I hesitated.