Wish You Were Here: Naked and Alone in a Japanese Bathhouse on a Rock in the Middle of the South Pacific

by Owen James Burke


Photo: Owen James Burke.

Over half a mile above the sea, silky blue waters trickle up from Earth’s crust, filling and frothing a handful of small rock pools beside a rolling mountain stream on this far flung rock, somewhere in the South Pacific.


Photo: Owen James Burke.

The pools range in temperature from about 102°f to 105°f (39-42°c) and are wholly coated in a dark, slithery muck. But don’t worry–that’s just black algae, a thermophilic (heat-loving) organism which, I’m told, does something to rejuvenate the skin.


Photo: Owen James Burke.

There’s an indoor bathhouse with a skylight, also filled with the dark slimy greens, and if the idea of leaving the spa looking like swamp thing doesn’t leave you feeling all too fresh, you can de-grime with a shower (though it’s not recommended).


Photo: Owen James Burke.

As for me, I’m still picking seaweed out of my ears.


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