Lim: Peril at sea

Wide Awake

AFTER almost two hours in turbulent waters, our plan to visit the Blue Cave is quashed by strong winds and high waters. But I am determined to enjoy the rest of my day sailing the Adriatic.

After dropping anchor at Vis, however, our skipper, Vanessa, ominously announces, “The waters are going to be rough today, rougher in the afternoon but the tour will proceed. If you don’t feel safe on this boat, you can take the ferry here back to Split.”

My sister valiantly tries to catch my attention. I ignore her. I know she wants to take the ferry back. My cousin, for sure, too. I don’t have sea legs but I don’t go to battle unprepared. I had popped a Bonamine in the morning. I am primed and ready and in no mood to be thwarted.

My sister and cousin are not keen on spending the rest of the day sailing in the turbulent Adriatic. Well, neither am I. But the Chinese in me is not going to be cheated out of my money. I am going to complete this tour. I, the self-anointed tour leader, decide for my party to proceed.

It’s not a bad decision. At least, not yet. The islands of Vis, Komiža, Hvar and Budikovac are beautiful. We have swim stops at Stiniva Bay and Blue Lagoon.

Our bikinis never see the light of day, though, because the winds are too strong and the waters, too cold. We joke that Mama has hijacked our plans to be bold even in anonymity in the Adriatic because truth to tell, our bodies are not fit for public viewing. I guess Mama is in no mood to be thwarted too.

Soon, it is time to go back. Vanessa says it will take 40 minutes to return to Split. Then began the harrowing part of our journey. The seas suddenly start getting rougher, the swells, bigger. My sister fears getting a slipped disc.

I fear breaking my neck as the boat violently bounces up and down the waters. Vanessa motions for me to move from the bow to the port side. I perilously hold on to a rope to do as she asks.

Forty minutes pass. No Split in the horizon. As the cold sea waters splash upon us, I start to get the chills. I intensify my prayers. I am certain now—I will not die by drowning but by hypothermia.

The face of our badass twenty-something skipper suddenly turns somber and serious. I now imagine the headlines back home: Journalist wins Camma but dies in the Adriatic. I can’t believe what I have done—dragging two innocents along with me.

It seems like forever but after 90 minutes, we finally get to dry land. It is now dark but we are safe. I thank God for saving us.

There is a fine line between intrepid and asinine. I walk that fine line often. But I learn my lesson in a flash. When AccuWeather issues a gale warning, heed it. I quickly cancel my kayaking trip in Dubrovnik. There’s a gale warning there too.


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