Because of my encounter with a 22 footer many years ago, I have steered well clear of the water for many years. However, thanks to White Shark Africa in 2012, I tackled my fear of sharks which in turn, released this amazing amount of freedom. When one is dominated by fear of a story you magnified in your head, one tends to miss out on a number of things which I would class as the ‘crushing of one’s spirit’.
Since 2012, I have made leaps and bounds when it comes to water. The first step was stepping into the ocean to swim. I would normally be the one sitting by the beach watching everyone swim wishing I had the courage to do the same thing.
Earlier this year I was given a kayak for my birthday. I remember how nervous I was on the kayak and a mere 500 m paddle set my heart rate well into the 200’s. I kept watching the water below, waiting for that 22 footer to show itself. [stories in your head]
As each day goes past, I gain more confidence knowing that the sea demands 100% respect which I give in return for the freedom of my spirit.
I firmly believe that there are a range of skills one must learn in life. One of these skills is understanding water and wind which is encompassed through sailing. So, when given the opportunity to learn to sail with Wind Dancer Yacht Charters, I committed with both curiosity and nervousness. How will one know if you like something if you don’t give it a go?
Tony from Wind Dancer Yacht Charters met us at Hillary Boat Harbour. I invited my daughter to join me, as learning the skill of sailing is advantageous, especially for teenagers.
I was a litter nervous at first, but after the rest of the “crew” (others seeking the adventures of the sea) arrived, Tony briefed us on the day and what to expect. My daughter was given the helm, as we made our way outside of the harbour. I looked in amazement how easy she took to the wheel navigating us through the maze of yachts & boats. Tony was giving her instructions all the way, and one could see a sudden sense of confidence as she looked forward to big blue sea in front of us.
The swells were fairly high, which I didn’t mind. I did my small bit helping where I could but staying close to the entrance to the cabin. Just when I was become comfortable with the gliding of the yacht through water, Tony called me to the helm.
I will admit that at first I was extremely nervous. Even though I was told that turning the wheel, as seen in movies, is NOT what one would do in reality, I still found myself doing so. Like most novice yachtsman (or woman in my case) I made a number of mistakes which I quickly learnt to correct. I am not entirely sure when I become comfortable at the helm but I just remember looking down the bow of the yacht and thinking “WOW, I could do this everyday”.
I could feel the yacht slicing through the water. For that moment I was her [the yacht] and could feel every part of the water around her. Tony started to teach me how to read the wind direction monitor on top of the mast as I headed the nose (bow) just a little left (port side) from direction into the wind.
The swells became bigger and I began to have a lot more fun. Somehow I could feel the boat riding up on the wave and then dropping down into the water. Each drop of the bow caused water to spray over the boat. It felt AMAZING!
We tacked a few times. While I was keeping the nose pointed into a direction, I began to observe the actions of the tack. I watched the mast move, the sails adjust to the wind and felt the acceleration of the boat as we headed into another direction.
Of course, I was loving the helm and even though I wanted others to share that same experience, secretly I did not. I offered others to take over, but I think they all knew how much fun I was having and gracefully decline. I was gracefully thankful.
As time went on, I urged a few others to give it a go. And in doing so, started to watch how things were done with more interest. I was taught how to roll up rope and to move a mast. I watched how Georgia, another crew member of Wind Dancer Yacht Charters, scaled up the mast. She looked so nimble and I wondered if I could ever do that?
The sail back to the harbour was a lot calmer with the wind behind us. I grabbed my camera and began to take photos. Everyone seemed to relax a little more, including myself. Somehow I found my spirit – or did my spirit finally find me?
Upon entering into the harbour, it was noticeable that I was a different person. I didn’t initially feel it, but I think another yachtsman can sense when someone has been ‘set free’! Or maybe it was this smile on my face that remained there hours after our voyage – not entirely sure! But the world did look different and I felt extremely happy!
I would like to thank Wind Dancer Yacht Charters for inviting me for this amazing experience today. I know they will see me again in the near future. So much to learn, so much to experience and so little time to do so!
If you would like to experience something like this, then you can book an experience with Wind Dancer Yacht Charters. They are offering an ‘Introduction to Sailing’ for December 2016 and January 2017 for only $70.00 which is an amazing value considering the length you are out at sea together with the amount of things you learn. Who knows – you may just find true happiness on the water and that, in itself, is priceless.
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