Monday, November 10, 2014

Going Vertically Sideways

It's been 16 hours since we got back to Vancouver and finally, FINALLY, the feeling of going back and forth and up and down has ceased. And what a day it was!

The weather forecast was for winds reaching gale force which for me didn't sound like a fun thing. Anything that has a word to describe it can't possibly be a good thing. Leaving Secret Cove, though, the imagery was serene. 

As with the day prior we weren't so much a sailboat but a boat that just happened to have sails that was being moved by a motor. I don't know my Canadian island geography but I could tell we were making good time at around 5.8kts. 

Around noon time the winds picked up and it got to the point where sailing looked to be a doable thing. I was at the helm when the sails got unfolded and at the same time the winds went from 10kts to 20kts which caught the sails full thus turning the craft to the left. I tried countertseering per the captain's order but it was no use. We continued to be pushed to the left and the force started to lift the vessel. This was something I know I didn't sign up for. 

The angle kept increasing and I started to get worried. I don't think I've shared this before but I actually have a fear of open waters and this fear, I feared, was about to be realized. 

Even still we were rising up and my feet were now on the sidewall to keep upright. Things in the cabin underneath were being tossed about and I was sure I was about to get a taste of salt water and how long ed be in the water, well, the seas were rather lonely. Maybe everyone else knew something we did not. 

It got to the point that the side of the boat was in the water and as I looked to my left I was looking straight into the water. I kept trying to steer the boat but the winds were overpowering the motor and rudder. And I do have to say thank goodness that I was holding onto the wheel or I'd have fallen into the frigid waters. 

It was getting to the point that if we'd come up higher I was sure we were going to roll which, oddly enough I'd asked two hours prior, "can a boat like this roll"? to which I was assured it could not but at this point in time I was sure we were going over. 

Then it happened. Thankfully not a rollover but a spin out. Did you know a sailboat could spin out like a race car? Neither did I, but we did and all became calm as we were now nose into the wind. Finally, I could breathe again. 

The captain took the helm and we continued on and again a gust of wind came and we were put into the same situation again. I about had enough if this and was wondering what happend to the tranquil, peaceful experience I had had on the previous day. Also, my body went into full defense mode and my hypersensitivites kicked in and I was feeling every bump, wave, sound, and all in all it was all rather exhausting. 

In serious situations in the past, be it physical or social, when my body has learned of a danger I become hyper vigilant to it and each time the start of the motion begins I prepare for the worst. This too is how the fear of socializing can happen. This, though, was motion and each wave that we caught wrong and each time the boat shifted to the left I was sure this was it yet again. 

The waves stayed choppy but we learned how to not spin out or go vertical in the water and by the time we got to Bowen Island the waters had become calm. Whilst the waters were calm I was still in defense mode and was very tense. In the distance the skyline of Vancouver was a most welcome sight. 

We got ashore and I felt like kissing the land, but it was an old dock and I felt that might look a bit strange, but I felt the urge. The only experience in my life I can compare this to was my being held captive by the mob of homeless boys in Kisumu, Kenya back in 2005. For myself there was that much panic within me and I did have to deal with the after emotions of this panic. Even now as I write this there is a residual amount of panic from the experience. The captain, Rob's dad, told me that this is somewhat common and sailors get into far windier (double or more of what we felt) and going sideways like that is "no big deal." That may be so, I don't know, but when you've never experienced it and don't know the limitations of what a boat can do a sense of panic is about the only thing that once can experience. Thankfully, on the outside, I didn't panic and the captain commended me on this. Rob as well didn't panic and we both did our parts to make sure the boat didn't go under. 

So now my time in Vancouver is about up. I'll be headed to the airport in just a few minutes and this has most certainly been a trip to remember. It's amazing how fast six days go and when I get home I'll be right out the door as I've got 10 presentations in three days coming up, but for now I'm left with the memories of yesterday. To end I did take video of the waves behind us. These waves aren't as high as they were and were taken some time after I had calmed down, but does give a bit of an illustration of just how up and down and up and down we had it. 


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