Well, it was more like a second-hand small floating device for 3 or 4 people, but he just wanted it for commuting back and forth from the island to the mainland and for going fishing with my dad, so he was happy.
I, on the other hand, am happy having my feet on solid ground. I’m a big advocate of the old saying, ‘the more firma, the less terra.’ Just because I live on an island doesn’t make me an old salt. I only do the ferry on a glass-perfect day and even then it’s only a 7 minute run – according to my wristwatch – on a hair-raising gale force ride across the bay in the now-distant past.
It was one of those perfect glass-like days when my husband suggested a test run in his new craft. He sealed the deal when he announced that he was taking my precious dogs for their first boating adventure to try out their ‘sea legs.’ Horrific visions danced in front of my eyes of my husband jumping overboard to rescue one of my precocious pets while the now abandoned driverless tinnie continued on it’s merry way out to sea with my 2 remaining distraught furbabies. I found myself nodding a mute yes as I gathered the closest of my fur-children to my chest. If they were going down with the ship, then so was I.
A crowd had gathered down at the boat ramp as blokes of all shapes and sizes jostled to show off their crafts. Our little boat was lost in the fray as the mines-bigger-than-yours brigade sized up our meagre offering and our pitiful attempts to back it into the water. Our tinnie was so small that even on the trailer it still could not be seen in the rear-view mirror, which made it extremely difficult to tell which direction it was being backed to. There was a lot of chortling and a final cheer as we succeeded in making it to the water. The only thing that was missing from this picture was a fine bottle of wine to crack on her bow.
One local wag decided to wander up to us and have a go at my husband’s navigational skills, but backed off pretty quickly when my husband glared at him and barked something about not having to back a God damn ship into the water, as it was already in the God damn water. The irony of somebody who can drive a ship, but can’t back a boat into the water was not lost on me either, to be honest.
Of course, my husband had something to prove now, so he installed me at the front with the dogs and opened up the throttle. Pretty soon we were hurtling across the bay with bravado and at breakneck speed. I ground my teeth together and tried to hold onto the dogs with one hand and the side of the boat with the other as we slid around like hockey pucks on the front seat. There was a bone-jarring crunch as we we became airborne and hit the deck. I lost my hat and would have lost one of the dogs if I hadn’t had a death-grip on his collar. My husband banked sharply to the right and then circled to the left in an effort to retrieve my hat before it floated off with the tide. I closed my eyes, thanking God again that this wasn’t a dog.
I looked at my husband’s grinning mug and demanded to be taken back to the ramp before I hit him with one of his new oars. If he wanted me out here again, it had better be on the blasted Australia Sky cruise ship, and only then in first class.