Wednesday 31 August 2011

Silly Sailors!

 During a semester break in 1991, before Russell and I went on our crazy cycling trip, we asked my dad if we could borrow his boat for a week. So ok, neither of us could actually sail but that was not about to get in our way. My very accommodating dad agreed to sail us over to Rottonest,(thats him above sailing) an island of the coast of Perth, Western Australia. We moored in Thompsons bay on a bouy, rowed to shore and put dad on the ferry back to the mainland, with instructions to return in a week and sail us back.
 We had a fantastic time. I was always running around naked because that was just what one did in those days, those of us from the more liberated and less conservative backgrounds (I'm Danish, need I say more?) and Russell thought it was all very daring. We washed in the ocean, swam, cooked on board, played games and of course every evening to the sunset Russell would play his French Horn to the other boats in the bay.
 Very early one morning, as we lay asleep in our bunks, I became aware of a bumping sound. I opened my eyes - it was still quite dark.
'Russell! Russell! What's that bumping?'
Russell was awake immediately 'I don't know, I'll go check'
We had tied the dinghy off the stern but suddenly it wasn't there , it was floating off in the distance! Luckily a another dinghy with a little motor was passing nearby and Russell managed to flag it down, get a lift and tow it back to the boat. We fastened the knots more securely this time.
 On the last morning Russell woke me up.
'Dorit! Wake up! Is this normal for the boat to be leaning?'
I noticed I was kind of tipping over in my bunk.
'Probably just the boat moving in the tide' I said and we went back to sleep.
A little while later we woke up nearly falling out of our bunks! We both flew out of bed and raced up on deck to the first rays of daylight. Horrors of horrors, the tide had gone out and because we were grounded and keeling over rapidly it meant our boat had failed to turn direction with the change of wind and was facing the completely opposite way to all the other boats!
 'Oh my god, we're going to sink and drown!' I cried. I mean really, you jump in the water and swim around all week but as soon as you're on a boat and it starts to look like it might sink you panic - what's with that?
Russell quickly got into action mode and had a rescue plan. He jumped in the dinghy, attached a rope between the boat and him and began to row as hard as he could to another bouy. Slipping the rope around the bouy he hauled and hauled and with a very slight incoming tide he was able to pull the boat off the reef slightly. We were saved! The boat wouldn't sink, we wouldn't die and my dad wouldn't kill me!
Later that day my dad came over on the ferry to sail us back. As he approached Rottonest he looked at all the boats moored in Thompsons Bay 'What the hell is the silly boat doing facing the wrong way' he thought. Then 'Oh dear! That's my boat! What have those kids done?' That's him in the picture above having a beer as we tell him the saga. That's a typical look my dad has when he just can't believe something that's happened.

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