We went sailing again.
During the morning hours it rained a bit so I asked Captain Theo, if the trip was still on. He said we should be ok by the time we were ready to sail. The rain stopped by noon – sailing time – and though the weather forecast indicated periodic thunder showers in the afternoon, we still decided to go out.
As we pulled out into the water the skies were dark. Out in the distance there were some really black clouds which we thought were too far away from us to be problematic. There was no wind and as Captain Theo powered out I jokingly said it was the calm before the storm; Pastor Nelson started singing the Gilligan’s Island theme song (not sure if that was a good idea).When the wind finally started blowing we were able to unfurl the sails and enjoy a short time of relatively smooth sailing. After a while, Captain Theo must have sensed that it was not such a good idea to be out so he turned the boat around and started heading back.Then the rain began to fall. It wasn’t much but it added another level of excitement to the trip. Sean and Pastor Nelson stayed on the deck, getting soaked.
Then the storm really hit us! The rain came down in sheets and the wind picked (later on Captain Theo estimated that the winds were about 35 miles an hour from zero a few minutes before). I was down in the cabin at the time and I became a bit concerned when I looked out the little window and saw the waves right outside. The T-Time was listing at what I estimate to be almost a 45 degree angle. I looked out and saw Captain Theo leaning on the helm trying to keep the boat on a straight course. That’s when I decided to see how I can help so I suggested we bring the sails down. Sean climbed on the deck and manually pulled the sail down making it easier for Captain Theo to steer the boat back to the marina.
The storm didn’t last very long and probably was not as bad as we inexperienced sailors (except Captain Theo) thought it was. But I did learn a few things.
- There is such a thing as the calm before the storm: When we got to the marina there was a nice breeze blowing. I remember thinking that in spite of the threat of thunder showers, the wind would give us a nice day of sailing. But as we were pulling out the wind died completely, the water was glassy calm and its only when a cruise boat passed by we saw some waves. So too, in life periods of exceptional calm may be a prelude to times of turbulence. Therefore we should be ready when they come. Captain Theo must have realized that it would get rough so without saying anything to us, he quietly turned the boat around. I suppose it would have been harder to turn in the midst of the storm than just before it hit.
- Storms teach you how to adapt to your circumstances: It was the first time Sean had been on a boat like this. He is a big guy and I was a bit amused when he put on the life vest which was way too small for him. But he kept it on for the duration and when the storm hit he was all over the deck like an experienced sailor. I don’t know if he was afraid but he learned quickly and he was able to bring the sails down on his own. Sometimes you just don’t know how you will handle things until the waters get a bit rough. That’s when experience kicks in and you do whatever comes naturally. Sometimes it means that you pray.
- Storms are not to be trifled with: We really did not have time to understand whether we were in danger. Like kids who think everything is fun, we just enjoyed the experience. But when I looked out from the cabin at Captain Theo I noticed an expression on his face that made me realize he was taking the storm seriously. The truth is, Captain Theo was the only one who had any real sailing experience. If we were in trouble he would be the one to get us out of it. We would have done what we were told but it would be his job to take us through the storm.
Life’s storms are also not to be trifled with.They can do real damage and you are never really adequate in handling all of them. That’s why it is important to know whom to go to; whom to call. In Mark chapter 4, when Jesus and His disciples met a storm on the Sea of Galilee, experienced fishermen though they were, they called upon Him.