Glug, gluuuuug, GLUG.
That’s all I could hear as waves rolled past us and began to fill our boat with water. It was supposed to be a quick excursion. At least, this is what my good friend Dutch led me to believe when he proposed that we set out on a simple, two hour trip. Who was I to question him? He was the one with a year of sailboat experience; I was just the guy who wanted to do something different for a single weekend.
In all fairness to Dutch, everything was fine for the first hour and a half. We didn’t go too far from shore, though we got far enough out the coast was a sliver on the horizon. The wind was in our favor (or so Dutch said), being strong enough to push the boat along fluidly but not enough to knock anyone about. The sea mist was cool and refreshing, the kind of thing the average working man dreams of when trying to relax after a ruined work week. It was honestly a perfect trip up until that point.
Then we hit something.
I couldn’t tell you what it was. A reef? A piece of iceberg that wanted to sink us like Titanic? What mattered is we hit it.
At first, Dutch and I just stared at each other to confirm we’d both heard the dull thud and felt the tiny shake. After a moment of looking around, we both decided to shrug it off. We weren’t drowning in the ocean, so everything was probably fine. Well, that’s what I thought, and now I’ve learned my lesson about assuming things are fine just because I’m not in imminent peril.
The sailboat, like a true trooper, somehow managed to glide towards the docks for another five minutes, leaving us about ten minutes out from landfall. That’s when the first glug pierced my ears. Now, being on the ocean, I didn’t pay much mind to that first glug. I mean, the ocean is kind of weird and makes a lot of weird noises sometimes.
Then there was a second glug, and a third, and a fourth, and so on.
As these glugs occurred, the sailboat noticeably slowed. Not enough it stopped at first, but enough Dutch noticed and started messing with the sails thinking it was the wind at fault. Meanwhile, I was listening to these glugs, trying to figure out what they were. They started very soft in sound, as if something was just lightly tapping on a hollow object. With the boat slowing, though, the passing ocean’s whoosh sound drifted off, making the glugs more noticeable. Eventually, they began to sound like deep, underwater belches, and as that thought occurred to me, I realized what was happening: we were sinking.
“Dutch, we’re sinking!” I exclaimed in haste, drawing Dutch’s attention to me. At first, he simply looked quizzical and brushed some of his brown hair out of his face. Then, a particularly loud glug flew past our ears, and Dutch’s face paled to match the white vessel that was holding us afloat. A second glug followed not long after, and Dutch finally flew into action.
“Shit. Start waving for help or something!” Dutch yelled.
Once the words left his lips, he began digging around in some secure looking box. I followed his instructions and started waving and shouting as if my life depended on it (which it kind of did). Through the corner of my eye, I saw Dutch hold up a small, black gun looking device into the air and fire it. A bright light engulfed the area for a moment. Somehow, the flare gave me momentary relief. I mean, someone had to have seen it, being as close to shore as we were.
Yet, that little nagging doubt that gets everyone in trying times hounded me, and I continued to wave my arms into a nice, tingling soreness. Every once and a while I would cup my hands around my mouth and shout towards the blue abyss, hoping some boat was just a hop, skip, and jump away from our position. Dutch had also begun waving and shouting from the opposite side, and between the both of us it was difficult to even hear the glugs. Taking a chance, I decided to look down at the small deck of the boat, where I saw the glint of water pooling on its surface.
This single sight drove me into a sort of frenzy, and I shouted even louder. With each shout it felt like razor blades scratched my throat, and I couldn’t deny I was getting hoarse. Yet, I kept with it; I certainly wasn’t in the mood to drown in the ocean, even though the life vest I was wearing would prevent that from happening right away.
The time ticked by at a snail’s pace. I would shout, wave, and pause to catch my breath. Dutch kept a similar pace, although from the shaking the boat made I could tell his flailing was a bit wilder than mine. In the meantime, that pool of water was slowly growing higher, and the boat began to tip up just ever so slightly. Really, that reference to Titanic felt pretty topical to the situation, though I suppose at least the ocean wasn’t freezing cold.
That’s when Dutch finally sang a most melodious tune.
“A boat is coming! HEY!”
I twisted my head around quickly enough to whip even my short hair a smidgen. My eyes darted about and located the figure of a boat slowly making a beeline for our position. From where I was standing, I could see Dutch continue to wave at them, and I decided to follow suit. Eventually, the boat’s form grew large enough we were able to make out the people aboard, and when we saw them wave back we both felt safe enough to lower our arms.
However, neither of us took our eyes off the rescue boat that long; the longest was probably 10 seconds when we both moved more towards the front of the boat to balance out the rapidly sinking rear. I would say it was a race for our saviors to get to us, but there wasn’t really a doubt they’d reach us before our boat was completely submerged. Unless there was some shark waiting in the water to take a bite out of their boat, which I mean, could have been plausible.
Fortunately, no shark had been lying in wait, and just as our boat was about 60% underwater, our saviors arrived. It was really a simple matter for them to haul us over to their boat. We had a nice husband and his wife to thank for our rescue. This was only her third time out to sea as we learned on the trip back, though apparently her husband had a decade of experience with boating in general. Honestly, they could’ve been mass murderers, and I still would’ve been extremely thankful towards them.
The trip back was without incident, though setting foot on the dock almost made the sinking bittersweet. We had been so close to shore it almost seemed like we should’ve been in some magical, boat protecting safe bubble. I think Dutch felt much the same, though it was hard to tell between all the curses he threw out about losing his boat. It was a nice boat, but I’d rather the boat sink instead of me, personally.
After making landfall, Dutch excused himself to make some calls while I chatted with the couple who saved us. When Dutch returned, we insisted the couple let us pay them back, but both declined and rambled on about it being just human decency. The soreness from my arms dissuaded me from pushing the matter, and Dutch and I headed to a hotel to crash for the night. At midday the next day, I drove myself home, while Dutch remained to talk to his insurance company about the incident. As a friend, I had wanted to stay to support Dutch in his time of loss and grief. As an exhausted, sore man who had to be into work on Monday, though, I had wanted nothing more than to go home. So, that’s what I did.
Had I stayed, though, it wouldn’t have matter. After a near sinking experience, I don’t think Dutch or I will be sailing anytime soon.
A/N: Do not bother correcting me on sailing. XD I will readily admit I did 0 research for this piece and just educated guesstimated. Sorry if you're a sailing expert and this was triggering; it's just some practice fiction to get back into the swing of things for me. @_@