Funny how one’s perception of time is distorted in high stress events. That’s what happened to me. It all seemed to happen in slow motion.
Himself held up the busted tiller in his hand with a look of complete disgust as we all looked to him. The sailboat, now essentially rudderless began to tip as the sails filled with the relentless wind. At first is was a gradual tip. We all bent our bodies in opposition to the direction that the boat was tipping, trying to keep it upright. If we could do so, perhaps we could quickly take down the sails and paddle our way back to camp.
“Whoooooa! Whoa!” The girls howled.
For a moment it seemed as though we would be successful. The wind let up just briefly and the boat started to upright itself and descend back into the water. We all exchanged looks of satisfaction and relief before another gust hit the sails and rapidly tipped the sailboat onto it’s side. The sails slapped the water and then promptly water flooded on top of the sails.
“Adventure awaits!” I yelled, trying to keep things light. I figured to upset three children with something like “Oh God!” or “We are all going to die!” would be a poor choice.
The girls were on the starboard side and their backs and bottoms were now immersed in the water. Their legs easily slipped out of the boat and they swam towards the bow.
Himself dove into the water by the stern.
That left myself and my son clinging to the port side that now was almost vertically up in the air. My son was clinging to the hull with both arms. I had my back hyper-extended and was attempting to hold on with my arms wrapped behind me on the hull. My feet were bracing me up but the water lapped at my toes. The water now engulfed almost half of the hull, so it was not a great distance to the surface below. I looked at my son. He had a puzzled expression.
“It’s OK. Let go and swim towards your sisters.” I reassured him with a smile. He let go and with a small splash slipped into the water between the sails and the hull. His head bobbed up quickly and he started a dog paddle/breast stroke towards his sisters who were treading water and excitedly chatting about our predicament.
Now it was my turn. I stopped bracing my feet on the bottom off the hull I pushed off from the hull and plopped into the deep dark lake below. I quickly returned to the surface with the pull of the life jacket. I swam towards the kids.
When I reached the children, the girls were giggling nervously as they proclaimed that “Dad broke the boat” in a sing-song fashion, and my son had a pout on his face.
“Everybody OK?” I asked. The kids all nodded as we bobbed effortlessly in the water with our life jackets. Himself swam up behind us.
“This was our problem.” Himself said as he held up the splintered tiller.
“Yup.” Himself responded.
“Of all the bad luck…” I said.
My son broke into a wail.
“What’s the matter?” I asked him.
“Camp is ruined! We broke the sailboat and we are gonna get in trouble.” He pounded his fists into the water. I was startled by his angry reaction.
“No way, Jose! No one was hurt. That’s the most important thing. It’s always the most important thing.” I said soothingly as I took his little fists into my hands. “And sailboats fall over everyday. I’ve seen it during sailing instructions. Sure the tiller is broken but we can replace a tiller, no problem.”
“You can?” My son said still pouting. I nodded.
“Sure,” my husband answered.
“See? We didn’t ruin camp.”
“Yup. I can buy a new tiller at the boating store in town.” Himself spoke up. “Or I could just use another broom handle like they did.”
“A broom handle? Seriously?” I looked at Himself with my eyebrows raised.
|MacGyver can solve any problem|
“Pretty resourceful actually.” Himself nodded with respect as he held it up out of the water. “That’s one helluva MacGyver.”