….wild is the wind…creative free speech is the seed….
I KNEW you lot wouldn’t believe me when I said I handled nature on a sailboat that did a round-the-world race! The whole thing started as a few days of sailing around the Whitsunday islands but we were caught in the tail end of a Tornado!!!!
One of the sails were stuck. Skipper started screaming: “If someone does not get their finger out, we are heading towards Indonesia real fast!”
Funny how in the moment of crisis, you see people’s real character. Let me break it down and please don’t be offended. I’m not saying some national characters are more stoic than others, I am saying that some people from certain countries have a much less realistic idea about Nature AND can’t “WALK THE TALK” about it because they don’t understand what is UNTAMED nature!
So here’s my lists of Heroes: All the Aussies, yes including me. We got scared. Of course we were especially when some idiot switched on the radio and someone was going “May-day! May-day!”
And the skipper was screaming,”WE are going 26 Knotts, boys & girls, this is not a joke! GET that f8cking Sail down NOW or we will be leaving Australia!”
Scottish lady just bolted up to the front of the tilting boat! She ran so fast, no one could stop her! Her husband who was supposed to be the experienced one because he taught sailing every weekend, didn’t! Her fingers started to bleed because the ropes were so stuck and the spinnaker was intertwined with several pieces of ropes.
Aussie Crew ran up to help her, it still took ages for the two of them to get the sail down! Her husband suggested something weird…like dropping anchor (?) out the bag (? funny scottish accent!????) to slow us down! (What? In the middle of th Carol Sea heading towards Torres Strait, is he nuts!?!?)….Aussie Crew looked at him like he was demented! I think we were all thinking, “This is not f8cking Loch Ness!”
***It was only until a few years later that we realised, he had been used to sailing in Scotland’s Firth and yes he did teach sailing but not THIS kind of open sea racing and he was worried about damaging the boat. Whereas Aussies were just worried about “Lets just get out of here in one piece and screw it if we lose a bit of this’n'that!”
In the meantime, the two people from Ireland ; a pilot in training and a male trolley-dolly (he’s lovely, I kept in touch with him for years) just said,”Right, we are all belted into our safety jacket. Where do you want us to be? (to skipper)”
I was next to the Norwegian girl. We were told we had to sit on the rising side of the yatcht to counter-weight…this was not as fun as it sounds when you are facing the tailend of a Tornado that came from nowhere! The boat was tilting quite a bit from the horizontal.
The only time I could hear anything less than calm in the Norwegian girl’s voice was when she said, “I am slipping. I am not wearing the right shoes, what do I do? I dont have anything to grip with barefeet!”
I said,”LOOK! STRAP yourself in with one of the belt of the lifejacket, do it in front, so you can press release anytime you want to slide out. There’s 3 belts, so your life jacket won’t fall off! Just do it!”
Skipper said”Look, we are not in any danger! That May-day was probably them doing some f8cking stupid thing! We’d be right.”
Norwegian girl and I just nodded. Fine, whatever it is, she’ll be right, mate! Fine!
It was only when we started slowing down to about 22 knotts that I had a bit of time to look at who else was on the boat!
The two Germans had been invisible in all this. I couldn’t even tell you where they were but it was clear that they were Never in the way of the insanity and did what they could! The Scottish couple was kind of funny because the lady did her thing and after he spent the time sucking on her bleeding fingers and saying,”We’ll get a plaster for it as soon as we get out of here.” So at least his hmm..”weird theory about sailing in the Carol sea” was made up for by HER LIGHTNING COURAGE!
Honestly, in my experience, when I’m in danger, I’d rather a Scottish woman defended me than any men on earth. They are just more Fierce! Good for them!
It is my big regret that I am not that kind of Physical Risk-taker. The Scots had a way of “wanting to do battle with the environment & wanting to win!”. The Australian in me, after years of Bush survival classes where we were taught the following ; direct quote: “work with it, don’t try to bend it to your will, just work with it ….respect it and you will stay alive until someone can find you & help! That is about the best you can do…stay proactive, help others, listen to people who know what is going on and use your brains!”
I was not so brave as to jump out to the front of the boat at the time she did! No way! I knew how risky that was! Hey, I’m comfortable with nature, I am not insane! But I think she was amazing for doing it!
When it started getting a bit better, the Irish guy suggested we all need to meet for a drink after we get on dry land again….
I looked at him and he indicated with his eyes towards the entrance of the cabin.
There were three English couples from Kent. I forgot about them! The last time I noticed them was when we were at one of the island inlets and they were re-enacting….???….I don’t know what the freaking hell colonial novel they thought they were re-enacting!
I pretty much dismissed them when I saw that one of them tried to dive into the lagooon from the front of the boat….where the chain of the anchor was poking out. In my head I just thought,” Idiot Pommes! Let him get a concussion if he wants to play “out of africa” or “passage to india” or whatever! Anyway…it is deep enough. He won’t hit anything!”
I remembered swimming towards the beach and I heard them going blah-blah about the flora & the fauna….lol….whatever…and how sexy they looked in their anti-stingray suits (ironically)! I thought it was funny but ultimately very frivolous about the Australian wilderness. They just didn’t seem to know how anything could happen to you at anytime when you are in the outback or in the sea. Anything!
They just didn’t take the Wild seriously. It was as if they just did not RESPECT how nasty it could get if you don’t “get it right”.
Anyway by the time I noticed them again, I think they had learnt some RESPECT for the Australian nature! 3 of them were downstairs in the belly of the boat. I don’t think they were trying to make a cup of tea, somehow…their faces seemed a little green….and greyish.
The other two sat at the entrance to the cabin. The chick was holding her bf’s hand, looking stiff upper lip and scared. They just looked pale, stiff and weird (but not like the Scottish weird)…they looked big eyed & stiff….?
As things calmed down abit, one of the pommie guys pulled himself out of it, laughed nervously and announced,”You need a bit of weight on that end, I’m heavy enough (meaning chunky) so here, I’ll put myself here! (and plonked himself beside the Norwegian girl)”
As soon as we were safe again, they started blithering nervously, as if nothing had happened.
Lol. We were all too wind-blown & possibly too polite to remind them of their incompetence and lack of courage. Hiding in the cabin area was the worst place you can possibly be in that situation! They could have asked what they could do…they just didn’t want to take instructions even if their lives depended on it (and it did!). They behaved like they had just encountered a minor inconvenience on their pleasure cruise afterwards. They were not even excited about being caught in a minor tornado!?!?
Maybe they could have been useful at some point? I don’t know. Maybe if we had to fill in a form about what happened, they would all be able to Pen-push their way into making it sound like They and they alone, kept it all together while “the natives” (under their supervisions) chipped in a little? I am sure they could even make the Scots sound like it was ALL her fault that she stepped up and tried to do something ….I’m sure the Tornado was plotting with her against them! Lol….and the Irish failed to bring them their teas (aka beers) at the right time ….
I was left thinking, “Too bad Australia is not into that much bureacracy, so no forms for them to fill in…not even a pencil to sharpen!”
I’m sorry if I sound sarcastic…but at some point, these types of pencil pushers of the former British empire will really have to learn to RESPECT Untamed Nature!!!!
They just don’t seem to “get it”. They behaved like if they can fill in a few forms, bully with a bit of bureacracy all around…take a few photos, document a few crap….I don’t know maybe …have a whinge with their mates at their locals just so they feel morally justified…you know “Terra Nullius” and all that…..then suddenly wow, an Aussie Tornado would just “blow over” to their Force Majere! hahahahaha!!!
Yeah, yeah, Keep Calm & Carry on…Learn nothing and see how long you survive in the Wilderness! lol.
I must admit, when things were calm, they went back to doing their part, helping to “tidy up”! But good god, they were NOT exactly made from ANY raw courage like the Scottish Lass, were they? Talk about being “chicken & gutless”!!!!
Trust me, these were NOT the type of characters that built the empire, but these are the type of characters that…well…inherited a sense of entitlement and proceeded to sit back on their lazy bums to let others do all the work and decide They are ENTITLED to stay in Charge and hey, they could even “REPRIMAND” people who did the work ! LMAO…Stupidity is a voluntary disease……and we know what the cure is! lol….
So please I know I sound horrible but Broken Blimps of Britain, please buck up and stop being so “pencil pushing”!
TAKE some risks, walk your talk before you tell stories afterwards! Your lives were at risks too, Try to pretend you WERE LIVING in IT! DON’T KEEP CALM and Blah-blah ON! Doing nothing when it comes to an UNTAMED Nature …It will KILL YOU!
I forgot to mention that deep down in the hearts of the aussies, we all knew that if anyone went overboard, tried as we might, under those circumstances…any man or woman overboard had very little chance of retrieval (we did not have control of the boat to stop or turn around) and coastal rescue was 3 hrs from the shore….
Similarly, in the Australia outback, we were all taught about the “window” of time where you Could be rescued, if after that “window” an Aboriginal bush tracker could not find you with the rescue team, please accept it is “game over”. So for a 12 hrs drive in Northern territory across the Australian outback desert along Stuarts Highway, between my companion and I, we packed exactly 60 litres of fresh water and another 15 litres in case we needed to “lend a hand” (and we did, an aboriginal family’s car broke down, we handed over some of our water to tie them over until someone came to pick them up). We packed 60 litres because that is about the 4 days (window) for the search & rescue to happen…after that they will stop. Before we took off, we sms-ed every place we were going to with an estimated time of arrival AND we also left a note at the Resort where we stayed with the exact location & route we will take. My friend got stressed out because I wanted to take a small detour which was 3 hrs to & back from our original journey points because our mobile had no signal so we could not be GPRS tracked and all along the road, there were signs reading: “Fill up now, next petrol station 500km!”
I remembered my teenage bf who was an officer in the air force and how when we took a day-drive into the Bush, he got up an hour early to check everything in his car because he had an accident once where he was driving from Sydney to Melbourne for 12 hrs overnight, his car hit a kangaroo and spun off the road, crashed into a tree (luckily for him backwards so he was unharmed). He was left sitting in the front seat of what was left of his car (half of it was crushed), for 2 hrs; knowing he could not move in case he had any internal injury until rescue team arrived. He was lucky he had signals on his mobile but also he had a radio backup. When the rescue team showed up, they said to him,”Okay, come out slowly.”
He said,” I told them, no worries mates, I’ll be fine. just need to get some fresh air, pick up a rental until my car is fixed and I will be on way…I have to report back to base in a few hours. Then as soon as I got out of the car, I turned around and saw that half my car was wrapped around a tree and then I passed out and woke up at the hospital……the crazy thing was, the rescue team told me, they could not find the roo’s carcass. I don’t think I hit it! It is still out there!”
We are talking about a person who was trained on military search & rescue exercise every 6 months to go out into the Australian bush to search for one single red balloon (representing a person/target) for 72 hrs drill. (Again, the “window” thing, after 72 hrs, it is unlikely they will survive if they were not found by then.).
***This is how seriously we were trained, taught & drilled about our wild, wild Australia! It is not a cute movie starring Nicole Kidman. GET REAL!
P.S MY HAIR WAS DESTROYED and I had to cut it short after because getting it untangled with all that salt and wind was impossible! I looked like a MESS!