Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Australia or New Zealand (01/15/09)
TITLE: Lost at sea
By dub W
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“Dunno, but somebody is blowing a horn at us, probably pirates, give’m the boat, I’m going back to sleep.” Carl rolled over and faced the wall.
“Get up, there’s another boat coming near us.” Jim threw his damp pillow at the sleeping body of Carl, then looked out the port window. Sure enough a vessel had come along side their tiny Island Ketch.
“Ahoy,” cried a voice from the other ship.
“Act dead, they’ll leave us alone, I think it is a island voodoo thing.” Carl’s logic often baffled Jim.
Jim swung out of his bunk and bumped his head on the ceiling. “Ouch.”
“Ahoy, any mates abort the ship?” The voice rang out again.
Jim climbed the stairs bracing against the rocking of the ship. “Ahoy yerself. We lost power and our sheets are a mess; and could use a tow.”
“Mind if we board?” The voice was too polite for pirates.
“Sure, come on aboard, don’t mind the mess.” Almost immediately loose netting tied the two ships together.
Two men in sparkling white uniforms quickly crossed the divide.
“Do you have papers?” The older of the two looked disapprovingly at Jim’s university tee-shirt and shorts. “Entry passports and Visas?”
Jim shook his head. “For what?” He looked around and all he could see was blue sea.
The younger gentleman looked into the galley below deck. “There’s another bloke down here asleep on the cushion.”
Jim repeated. “Uh, why, where are we?”
“No GPS?” The younger gentleman was looking at the steering, which was lashed to a post.
“Our electronics kinda went south during the storm that killed the engine, not that we had much fuel anyway. We were hoping to drift close enough to anything with a cell phone tower.
“Lads, you have landed in the Western Territories.” The older gentleman seemed quite proud of his announcement.
Carl crawled up the stairs from below deck. “You say we floated to the Caribbean?”
Jim shook his head.
The young gentleman lifted a sail. “So, how long have you been at sea?”
“What’s today? Like day, date, month?”
“Saturday, January 24, 2009.”
“Oh?” Both gentleman asked simultaneously.
“Uh, oh.” Carl ducked back down the stairs.
Jim put his hand on his head. “Wow, this going to cost a lot.”
The older gentleman grasped the rail with the rocking of the boat. “Aye?”
Jim pointed at the sky. “Like, we rented this sailboat in Benoa, Bali, like, Christmas Eve, and we were supposed to pick up some friends in Pecat, for a party on some island – like we have 20 cases of bottled water, soda, chips, and stuff."
“You came from Bali?” The younger gentleman continued looking the boat over.
“Yeah, and like this crazy storm came up, and we tried to get back to the dock, but finally the sails ripped, and then the engine smoked. So, we have just been floating. “
“For 30 days?” The older gentleman picked up his hand radio. “Seems we need to give these boys a lift. Let the duty boys in Port Headland figure it all out.” He was talking to an unseen person. Jim figured it was somebody on the boat.
“So, like who are you guys anyway?” Jim’s head was beginning to clear.
“Australian Coast Guard.”
“And, you are Americans? Correct?”
“Uh, huh.” Jim figured they were headed for some foreign jail.
Towlines were tied to the smaller sailboat and Carl and Jim climbed aboard the Australian ship. One of the men from the larger vessel went aboard the sailboat and sat at the helm. Minutes later they were underway.
“Tea?” A younger man in jeans and tea shirt handed Jim and Carl steaming cups.
“Thanks.” Jim noticed a Bible opened on the galley table near where he was sitting. You keep a Bible way out here at sea?
The young man laughed. “Certainly, I am getting ready for church tomorrow. Had some reading to do.”
“Are you lads church goers?”
“Uh, not really.”
“We’re having a bit of a seafood festival at our church. If the authorities allow, why don’t you mates come along. “
Carl blew on his tea. “You mean like go to church?”
Jim nodded. ”Cool.”
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