While on the subject of boats…
Our holiday was at an end and we were packed and ready to depart. “We”, in this case, was a friend, her son, a friend of said son and Jim, my husband. We’d had a great week at Te Maika enjoying the usual experiences. This day of departure was quite windy and therefore the harbour was rather choppy. The tide was out-going and it was about mid-tide, which meant that the water flow heading out to the open sea was at its greatest. I’m not sure why we were confident leaving at this time or tide but I guess a three-hour car trip home was to follow.
The wind was blowing across the harbour into our bay… the boat was determined not to leave the shore… small waves insisted on buffeting the bow making it difficult to keep it pointing towards the channel. The boat was loaded with luggage and Jim, my friend’s son, Regan, and I were set to go across with the first load. Jim would then return for our friend and Regan’s friend. I was (and am) quite capable of driving the boat so took the helm this particular morning.
“Ready to go?” I shouted to whoever was pushing off. I started the motor and lowered the prop as we headed toward the channel. “It feels very sluggish…” I commented to Jim.
“You’re just fighting the current,” replied Jim.
I was sure it wasn’t just current I was fighting but what do I know…?
It must have a been a very few seconds later when Regan called, “The anchor… did anyone bring in the anchor?”
And then … “Clunk…clunk…clunk…” I cut the motor…
We were adrift – right in the middle of the swiftly-flowing, out-going current.
Jim started to climb over the back to free the anchor chain as I called to him to put on a life jacket (nowadays the life jacket goes on before we leave the shore!). Next call was to my friend on shore, “Get help!” I hardly needed to tell her this as Regan’s friend took off on his 12-year-old legs. I could see a small craft a long way off so stood up and started waving my arms as one sees portrayed in the movies.
I don’t know what happened over the next minute or so except that the open sea was calling us very quickly… and there was nothing we could do to stop the call! It did seem like the small craft which was in the distance was alongside us in very quick time. Miniature people had gathered on the shore to watch – where did they come from?- and we were soon to be in very choppy waters.
The men on both boats tossed ropes and shouted orders… “Judy, you and Regan lie on the luggage as far to the back as you can…. grab this…. move that…” I did as I was told and prayed for good measure, too! A second boat summoned by Regan’s friend came to check on our progress and left us again when he was sure everything was under control.
Eventually, with two motors revving very hard, the “rescue” boat towed us, fighting the current all the way, to our departure point. A quick look at the prop showed that the motor would start but whether or not it would make it all the way to Kawhia was debatable so luggage stayed on board, Jim in the “pilot” seat, and all other passengers climbed aboard our rescuer’s craft and we motored side-by-side back to Kawhia.