The water was warmer than I expected, but I still gasped when I hit it.
There was beautiful bubbles all around me, they tickled on their way up as they contoured my skin. The blue was penetrating, infinite.
I felt my body rising back to the surface; the rays of light cutting through the water like blades in a sword box.
Finally, my heads exposed to the gusting wind, the waves wash salt water back into my mouth, and my nose, and my eyes sting red. Air just doesn’t seem to reach my lungs before another wave dunks me under. Nothing has changed, but I can only see black, feel cold, and hear the distant sound of waves slamming into a hull.
The life jacket starts doing it’s job, the automatic light activates, and my mouth seems to have found a space with more air than salt, or water. By the time I spot the boat, I can only see it’s sails. It’s sails are still up! Oh no… They don’t know I’ve gone over board! How can they not have noticed yet?! How!? We were all on the aft deck, trimming sails and cracking jokes.
Something fast skimmed past my legs. I tucked them in instinctively. I wanted to put my head under water to see what had come so close to me, but was terrified of knowing, and terrified of losing sight of the boat. Not that it made much difference, in this weather, and at this distant, for them to spot me, would be like finding a marble on a basketball court.
I opened my eyes under water, and spun around a few times, nothing… Just blue, deep as your worst nightmares, filled with shadows and particles, and… a fin. There’s no doubt in my mind, I just saw a fin light up under the suns rays. I couldn’t see the size of the shark, or what type, but I know I saw a fin, and it was heading straight toward me.
I needed more air, took another breath, and put my head under water again. Strangely enough, the sailing yacht was no longer on my mind, drowning was no longer my biggest fear.
I span around, I searched, I kept my feet tucked in underneath me so tightly I started getting abdominal cramps. I didn’t care. I was ready, I held the whistle in one hand, and a fist in the other. Bring it on!
A school of flying fish skimmed across the surface, I looked in their direction, whatever spooked them, was coming toward me, and it was moving fast. I could see the ripples even in this fowl weather.
I put my head under and heard the most amazing of sounds. The singing of dolphins. It was all around me. They were hunting, and jumping, but they didn’t mind me, and I was just relieved to know they were here, and the shark wasn’t.
And just as swiftly as it left, it came surging back again, the fear of drowning. Of not being found. Of being adrift in an Ocean thousands of miles away from land. How long could I survive? Did I even want to survive? Would it not be best to just take off my life jacket, exhale all the air out of my lungs, and sink to the depth, to the impossible blue, and drown. Is that not better than being eaten alive, or stung by a jellyfish and burning before drowning? Would it not be the most humane way to go?
Help!! Please! Turn around! Please!! I don’t want to sink!
I couldn’t see them, there was no sign of them. The dolphins had vanished too. And for a split second, the Ocean seemed peaceful, as if it welcomed me into her womb.
I screamed and screamed, and coughed up salt, and screamed some more. I splashed around like a maniac, raised my hands as high as they would go… And that’s why I didn’t hear it coming. That’s why I was not prepared for it when it struck me.
The blow was solid, to the back of the head; like someone took a swing at my head with a baseball bat. And then darkness.
Twenty seven hours later, I open my eyes, and I’m in the master cabin of the sailing yacht (this cabin is reserved for the VIP guests). It turns out the boat did turn round to get me. But the captain, misgauged the rescue point and rather than stopping close to me, he stopped on me.
They told me they had lost sight of me, but then saw a bunch of dolphins jumping in the air, and as they focused on it, they saw my orange jacket in the midst of it all.