Obstreperous howls ricocheted over the whitecaps as the storm introduced itself by way of a mocking dance across the restless black waters of the sea; sending waves of dread throughout my nervous system. Every sense was fine tuned to it’s approach, it unleashed it’s fury like an aquatic Grim Reaper, whose claws brazenly chafed at the sides of my boat.
Fueled by my imagination, the fear of my 46 foot ferro-cement boat sinking to the bottom of the Ganges Harbor in the storm and the need to vomit, I begged my legs to carry me top-side to gauge my distance from shore. “Could I swim it if I went down? Could I even find the shoreline in the thick pitch of night?”
Salt spray filmed my glasses, I was blind with them or without. My long strands of hair morphed into Medusa and lashed around in protest to the wind, whipped at my cheeks and brought stinging tears to my eyes as if it was my enemy. “I’d never make it. Just like the man they found a week prior, his boat capsized and his body floating nearby.”
I hunkered down below again, explored every inch as my body rolled from side to side. My heart kept rhythm with the echoes of waves beating the cement. There was no heat and I froze, no electricity and I needed to pee.
And the worst part? This experience was self-inflicted.
“You can stay in one of two boats, the one moored dock-side or the ferro anchored in the harbor,” explained my new friend, “but remember, the storm is predicted to have winds of 65 miles per hour and there is nothing between you and her if you choose the anchor.”
I’d come to Salt Spring Island in search of a boat I could call my home. I’m a water lover you see. Two were for sale and I was invited over to spend a few days on each as a trial. My hosts themselves lived aboard and at anchor and I envied them. We feasted on fresh crab and had a few beers while I mulled over my decision.
After our bellies settled I pointed to the ferro, much to my friends amusement. “Well if I’m gonna live aboard I better be able to weather a storm right?”
“You do that,” his wife frowned, “we are staying in a motel.” They dropped me at my boat on the way – and it was fabulous! I was instantly in love.
In the end I did survive, though I confess it was a lot different than camping out on my sailboat off a little island on Stewart Lake near Fort St. James for a week or, Christina Lake in the Kootenays where my boat did actually sink, but that’s another story.
The next morning I smiled a relieved greeting to the sun as we both peeked our heads out of our hiding spots and she rested warmly, like a mothers tender touch, on my swollen eyes …
I didn’t buy the boat because we couldn’t agree on a price but, I would live that moment over in a heart beat.