MY BLOG: Every day for a year. Day 95. ‘Let me off, I can swim that!!!’
Sitting in the beautiful dining room, I casually ran my eye over the other guests. Whilst circumspect in my activity, I’m a practical person who likes to size up who might be good in a crisis, who is likely to panic, and who would use me as a stepping stone to safer ground if it came to it. The floor gently swayed like a see-saw, moving the objects of my attention back and forth and back and forth. “That’s fine, “I thought to myself. “I’m good.” Earlier I had made my way up from the belly of the ship after my van had been securely stowed there. Choc-a-block full of musical equipment goodies, I was all set for my first tour of Tassie. As the ‘spirit of Tasmania’ left dock, I was full of enthusiasm and love for my job. Truly there is nothing better than being a touring musician. Dinner finished, I quickly ensconced myself in a quiet corner of the ship overlooking the ocean. The sky had turned an eerie black as storm clouds pursued our vessel. Tiny pellets of rain danced on the window pane in front of my eyes, spelling out an ominous warning. “It is coming, you are doomed.” Looking down to the dark waters below, the choppy waves appeared like teeth on a menacing beast as it licked its lips in anticipation. Feeling a tad disconcerted, I grabbed the attention of a friendly crew member. “Do you think the Captain might put his foot down a little?” My hopes of outrunning ‘Stormy,’ or at the very least shortening the exposure were soon dashed. “Afraid not Miss. Is there something I can get you? You do look a little pale.” Making a good pretense at stoic, he left me with a smile and a nod, to gather my composure. We were only an hour into a ten-hour trip, and I could feel my ‘frantic’ bubbling up to the surface. Retreating to the seclusion of my cabin, I was desperately hoping to sleep my way through Stormageddon. The sinister hands of the fiend below pounded in violent glee upon my window. “I am Storm, the great and powerful, who are you!!!” I honestly expected to see Dorothy and Toto fly past. With cabin refuge a futility, I was becoming desperate to quell the inevitable. With waves now lashing windows on the upper decks, the crew started roping off the outside areas. “Please let me out,” I practically begged them. “It’s too dangerous Miss, you might go overboard.” I didn’t care, at that moment, I can honestly say I really might have jumped. To put it in perspective, I get nauseated watching butterflies tumble about. A large burly crew member placed himself firmly in front of me. “If you go overboard, I’ll have to go in after you. Do you really want that?” After a rather undignified pause on my part, I replied “no.” :-). The ship was rocking so violently now, I wasn’t the only one in trouble. I did take some vestige of pride in the fact that despite being early to become unwell, I was not the first to fall to the dreaded upheaval of stomach contents. Once it started though, it spread like a contagion. Old pirate movies sprang to mind, as broken disheveled bodies flailed against the tyrannical ocean with matchstick ores. Gathering with other poor souls in the ladies bathroom, I caught sight of my face and stifled a shriek. The whites of my eyes had turned blood red, my skin had a greenish hue and was decorated with dark red hair splatted down my checks. A promoters dream publicity shot for sure! Caught between the nightmare of nausea and record high waves tossing the ship around like a cat’s plaything, it was more than a passing thought that the ship was headed to the bottom of Bass Strait. For another nine excruciating hours, Stormy clawed and punched and body slammed our little tin can, hell-bent on destroying it. To this day I can’t believe he didn’t. Apparently, bad crossings are not that common, which I tried to console myself with on the return trip. Sitting white-knuckled in my cabin, I justified the torture by the fact I’d had a great tour. Holding back the temptation to blubber like a big baby, I drifted off to sleep and didn’t wake until we were docking in Melbourne. I have made many return trips to beautiful Tasmania since then, and air travel never felt so good.
Thank you for listening!