Monday, 26 August 2013

Photo Story: Blue Dinghy Seagull

It was the autumn of 2009. I was sharing a house in Hillcrest with an assortment of people, including one with some pretty cool friends. When they started making plans to spend a weekend yachting in the Bay of Islands, I begged to join them. There was room, so I paid my share and hopped a ride.

Each yacht carried five people aboard, one qualified skipper and four of varying skill. I was a total noob, though I've always loved the water and my Dad grew up sailing. Swimming, rowing and kayaking were as far as I got.

Until that weekend. The skipper had us fixing the sails, steering, and navigating with the maps and GPS. We cooked on a gas stove in the cabin and moored in a quiet bay that night. All the crews gathered on one of the other yachts for a bit of a party, but I stayed behind alone, ever the introvert. It's hard to get solo time when you eat and sleep in the same little cabin and can't even walk away.

Anyway, the next day we headed towards yet another island. On the way we tacked against the wind; once, having just hooked the sail down to expose a smaller surface to the increasing breeze, I was hanging onto the mast with just my right arm when we swung over in a steep turn.

To my horror, there was an all-too-familiar grinding and my shoulder dislocated. I am prone to this, since it's happened a few times now and the muscles are a bit loose. I called out for help and the skipper tacked us back the other way - I don't know why he did that, but it was the best thing possible really. Still clutching the base of the mast for balance, my arm popped right back in.

Soon after, I was happily rowing the blue dinghy around an island as if nothing had happened. I don't think the others believed me at all.

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