Monday, November 15, 2010

Why Worry. Part2

I was only just getting the hang of the Boom swinging bit when it struck me. Not some brilliant idea…the Boom!
As I ducked my head I hit Buckys back and I couldn’t duck any lower, I struggled to move aside but the Boom hit me on the side of the head and I was knocked out of the boat in one swift move. I was stunned for a moment, the boat continued forward and I missed the outstretched hands offered by my crew mates but managed to grab the rope thrown me. I managed a wrap of my hand before the rope took up and I was jerked up to speed.

I had the absurd notion that my crew mates would haul me aboard, or turn the boat to come back for me, but NO! When you’ve finally got the boat in the right position and the wind is just right for a long tack back against the wind and safely into port, crewmembers are apparently expendable.
We were out nearly a kilometer, facing straight across the harbor and moving at good speed when I received the news to hold on and enjoy the ride as they would drag me behind the yacht toward the distant dry land.
I went along face down for a while but found I kept getting my eyes full of water so I rolled onto my back, we gained speed and I started skimming over the surface.
I looked right and left, the water was so deep it was black, I started to think about the sharks that were bound to be in the area… the ones, probably right now following along behind me. I had no choice but to suppress such thoughts, and try to enjoy being towed about like so much shark bait.
After the long and thankfully eventless tow into port we came to a stop literally just a few metres from the Bow of a huge freighter ship. Looking up, the hull curved away over my head for tens of metres… It looked like a mountain to me treading water beneath it’s shadow. Beside me was the tangle of huge timbers that made up the docks, looking like a fallen forest, thick weed and all kinds of creatures hung from the timbers and disappeared into the blackness of their depths. Looking below the water however brought a shiver to my spine, I could only see down a few metres before the twisting blackness of it’s depth crowded out the blue.
Quickly I was snapped back to reality as the yacht had turned and the rope took up again, I felt thankful as I was drawn away from the ship, out over the blackness again but closer to the land a few hundred metres away on the other side. Again my mind was filled with black thoughts of the things I could not see beneath me. I had to force myself to look anywhere but down into the blackness, every second felt like my last.
We cruised across the harbor in just a few minutes, the boat stopped to flip the sail around, again I had to tread water for the few moments that took, as I did so something touched my foot…the good hard bump of something solid.
I tried hard to withdraw my legs into my body, but found they just wouldnt withdraw enough... of course had no choice but to continue to swim or drown; about now drowning was looking the better of the possibilities ahead of me.
I lowered my legs again and again there was a solid bump, I put my head under the water and looked down fully expecting to see a shark basting my legs in lemon juice.
It was land… sweet wonderful land, the edge of the shipping channel and just five feet deep, without a second thought I tossed the rope aside and started walking the hundred metres to shore. I’d only gone a few metres when Bucky saw me leaving, realized he to had the choice to either go back across the harbor or walk ashore with me.
He stood and dived overboard covering ten metres or so underwater and coming up quite near me. We walked ashore to the strains of my brother complaining that he couldn’t sail the yacht alone...we didn’t care!
We got to the breakwall in quick time and scrambled up the rocky embankment…I didn’t feel safe until I stood erect at the top.
My brother made one more pass of the harbor and on the way back he hit a moored motorboat and flipped the yacht again, as he struggled to right it he called to say we should swim out and help him: there was no way I was going to do that.
In the time it took to right the yacht the wind blew him seaward another hundred metres and so he had to make one last crossing before he came close enough to throw us a rope, we towed him in and along the pontoons to the ramp.
It was a quiet trip home!

We all learned things that day…
And I’m quite sure we all remember it very differently.
My brother went on as usual, apparently unknowing and uncaring at the terrible mental damage he had done to us.
Bucky went on to own many boats including several sail boats and is apparently a very good sailor these days.
… and I learned that there was nothing on this earth,… nothing at all, that could not be improved by the addition of a big growling motor. To that end I’ve owned three motor boats but I’ve never sailed since that day…. scarred I am, scarred I tells you!



Pearl said...

Ah, crap, Tempo. :-) It was actually hard for me to even READ this, let alone picture you in it! As a land-locked person (Minnesota! ha!) nothing scares me quite so much as open water.

Big things! Big hungry things in the water! Ack!!

Glad you lived. :-) Punch your brother on the arm for me.


Jen said...

I've seen what happens to the seal decoys they haul behind boats like that...