There is a massive thud as the wave crashes onto the side of the boat. The boat shudders violently then skids sideways down a wave as the thundering white water comes crashing through the cockpit and down onto the cabin floor. Our plates are thrown across the room like Frisbees and all our unstowed items are unloaded on top of me, who was lying on the floor. The kids had already been stowed safely in there beds.
The captain races out to the cockpit and frantically bails the water out while getting us back on course . I groggily clean up the mess inside. I then return to my post on the floor trembiling with fear, clenching at every bounce and noise. I lye there on the floor counting my breathing, breathe 2 3 4 exhale 2 3 4 breath 2 3 4 exhale 2 3 4. Another wave comes crashing into the cockpit and I pull the doona right over my head, escaping from the world.
We still have a full main up, since we got caught out and the boat is fully lent over, the headsail is only a little hankerchief size. The swell is too big for us to get up there to pull the main down safely. The weather has got on top of us today and its not the first time we have been caught out.
An hour after we left our bay the wind picked up and it picked up quickly. The ride became instantly bumpier and us 3 girls were all admitted to the sea sick ward on the cabin floor. Next thing I know I’m dozing in and out of my travel calm coma, when I hear this scream of desperation “lahn” “LAHN get up here now” the Captain yelling at the top of his voice I stumble into the cockpit to hear the captain drop every explicit under the sun, he is standing at the bow. He had tried to tack the boat and the headsail has a tiny rope on the bottom that got stuck around the mast winch. The headsail is whipping and cracking as it flogs in the wind. The captain still screaming and clinging onto the mast for dear life. The waves washing over the deck and spraying his face. We have lost all speed and are getting slammed by the waves as we bob mercerlesly in the ocean. Finally he gets the headsail unhooked and I reef the sail across to the other side of the boat like a possessed demon. Normally I am pretty slow and wrap the sail rope around the winch, I then proceed to wind the headsail out at a very slow speed, this time with the ecouragment of the Captains sailor mouth I found some sort of super human strength and had the sail sorted with out using any winch, just pure raw stregth. I could only wish, I think it was adrenaline pumping strength.
With the situation sorted and the swell increasing, I did what any normal sophisticated, mature brave woman would do. I snuck back down below to hide under my doona/security blanket on the floor. We were out in the ocean un-protected by the reef and coping an absolute slamming. Finally I plucked up the courage to go have a look outside. I was mesmerised in an instant, the waves that had sent me scurring to my doona had also captivated me in an instant. The wind screamed past as the waves crumbled into white water. The oceans fury was being thrown at us and she certainly looked angry and menacing today.
When we finally got through the reef pass and into the lagoon the swell completely disappeared. We sailed along with the wind howling. An hour later we were still fighting the wind to try and drop our anchor in the Bay Ouano. We circled for awhile before finally ,we got enough space between us , the reef and the other boats to anchor. My nerves were well and truly frazzled and I really needed to be swept up in my Mums arms for a big long soothing hug and to be re-assured that everything was okay now. Instead we got a friendly call on the radio from our friends on “Akimbo” to say we must of had a feisty voyage. Our 8 hour ordeal was over and I was very grateful to be tucked away in an anchorage. Thankfully by sunset the wind dropped away to nothing. What a day