With a crew numbering only four and a dog, the boat was small; its riders content as they unfurled the sails and set out towards the sunrise. They rode the calm surf until early afternoon. The sail boat was many miles from shore in the rough waters of the Pacific, and the sun shone with a brilliance that cannot be seen but by a sailor. Clouds began to dance about the horizon, and the boat was angled back towards shore by the oldest crewmember—a fifteen year old who walked four miles just to sail upon the cold waves. Just as the sky began to color with sunset, the clouds about the horizon darkened and flew through the sky until winds whirled about the small boat and rain began to fall. Quickly the drizzle became a downpour and the winds became wilder and wilder. The crew ran from the helm, followed by the dog, and hid below deck. The foursome tightened their life preservers and buckled an extra onto the dog, praying that their use would be unnecessary. The harsh winds threw the boat from side to side; a sail tore, unable to fight the ferocious wind any longer. The dog whined and crawled under a bunk, only to be slid back into the open as the boat fiercely rocked the other way. More sails tore and whipped in the wind. And then the boat capsized. The foursome held tight to one another, only to be separated as icy water crashed through the cabin and the boat began to sink. The dog’s mournful howl was cut short as he went under and was swept away. In the rough and tumble of the waves, all five life vests pulled away from their bearers and the crew began their descent to the bottom of the Pacific, followed by their beloved boat. It was a struggle to the end but one by one their souls left their bodies and drifted towards the sky. Early the next morning, just as the fog began to burn off the water, the coastguard left a calm harbor to begin searching for the missing boat and its five passengers. The search went on all day with no sign that any one of the boat’s young passengers had survived the wrath of the storm. Upon entering the harbor at sunset, the large coastguard cutter came across five orange life vests skimming the waves.
April 21, 2008