We all meet with crises during our lifetime and I'm no exception.
At 8 years of age I was in a head-on car collision that left me with a broken leg. After going to the hospital, having it set and placed in a really heavy cast, I returned home. After a couple of days I experienced excruciating abdominal pains. I was rushed to the hospital where they performed emergency surgery removing my appendix before it burst. It was removed in time and all I was left with was a rather ugly scar.
At about 10, I came down with pneumonia and was a very sick girl in the hospital for a week.
At about 21 years of age I was in the middle of a 9 car pile up on the interstate in Minnesota. There were 4 passengers in my car and thankfully no one was injured.
At 22 I was pregnant and due to a fast delivery, I had my baby at home. This was not a real crises as there were no complications although I would not recommend this type of delivery to any expectant mother. Mother and daughter were fine and were taken to the hospital.
I coasted along for many years after that without any major incidents.
However, in 1998 (after moving to Guanaja the previous year) I, and the people of the island, went through one of the greatest hurricanes of all time - Mitch. It was a category 5 hurricane which sat over the island for 3 days unleashing its fury. Fortunately, again, my husband and I were unharmed and manage only loss of property.
I once ran out of gas in my boat while coming home from a friends home and while not wanting to drift off to Belize, I jumped in the water and pushed the boat along its side towards land. I managed to reach a dock, tie the boat and walk over the mountain to my friend's house to use her phone!
While on the island, these past 11 years, I have fallen off our boat twice (both times while attempting to step onto the dock when we were docking).
Boats, as any vehicle powered by an engine are dangerous and, I HATE BOATS. Not so much for the danger they present, but the fact that they are uncomfortable to ride in, one always arrives at their destination slightly wet, they are cold when one is out in the elements, they take a lot of preparation just to leave the dock, and there are no brakes! Well, there is reverse which substitutes for brakes.
Saturday, March 22nd I lost another one of my nine lives! I went to town early in the morning to buy groceries. This being Easter Week, the stores were closed on Friday, our normal shopping day, and were only open for 1/2 day on Saturday. I needed some basic items so off I went. It was cloudy out and had been raining, so I had my raincoat on. Before I left the house I emptied my purse of most of its items because I just did not want to carry that much weight. I would have put my billfold in my jacket pocket, but it was too bulky.
I arrived in town, made my various purchases and, like a pack mule, carried all the items back to the boat. I headed for home. It was windy and just as I reached the point of the backside of Alcatraz (the small Cay where we buy gas and propane), I noted my jacket starting to fly off the right side of my body. Now what happened next is a little blurry, but I will try to state it as accurately as possible.
I was going at a good speed (not wide open) and I, foolishly, took my hand off the tiller to pull my jacket back on, not thinking of the consequences. Once the tiller was released, the thrust of the boat going forward forced, I believe, the engine to make a sharp left turn. All I can remember is the boat suddenly lurching violently to one side. In an instant I experienced the feeling of not being in control of my body along with a lot of fear. I was pitched into the water by the sharp turn and the minute I hit all I could think about was "where is the propeller?" I came back up to see the boat going away from me and making for open sea. For some reason, the crate we have in the boat as an extra seat and my purse were in the water. I spied my purse and grabbed it immediately as even though there was not a lot in there, I had important papers along with credit cards!
I immediately started swimming to the Cay of Alcatraz, all the while watching my boat starting to make a big circle and heading back my way. It went around and then made for the Cay of Bonacca. I was terrified that the boat would hit someone, another boat, the main dock, or a piling of one of the houses on the edge of the Cay. There was absolutely nothing I could do but watch this crazy unmanned boat, head off to potential destruction.
As the boat reached the Cay, it veered off and started another crazy circle. It made another pass at the Cay and then, in a third circle, headed towards town but now was in a small channel heading towards Pond Cay. It hit a shallow spot and you could hear the engine kick up slightly and then resume its forward thrust. The only saving grace in this moment was the fact that now the engine had been pushed into making a tight circle and it circled madly around and around. The upside was that it was doing so in an area where no one or anything could have been harmed.
By this time there were 3 boats in the water. One headed towards me to pick me up; the other two were attempting to stop my boat. The boat heading for me reached me and I struggled to get on board. They asked if I was alright and I said, basically, yes. I pointed over to my boat and said "that's my boat." The man in the boat said he had seen me thrown out of my boat and took off immediately to help.
We watched the other two boats carefully circle my wildly circling boat in an attempt to either trap it between the two rescue boats or board it. Finally, with the right timing, one boat got to the front of my boat and the man on the front stepped over into my boat and turned the engine off.
I was taken over to my boat with everyone asking if I was OK. I thanked them all and assured them that for some reason, I had not been injured. I climbed back in my boat and headed home.
I was very, very lucky that day. I could have been hit in the head by the boat and drowned, or the prop could have hit my body and cut me badly; the boat could have hit another boat causing great injury or it could have hit a dock or a piling of a house and, again, caused damage.
So, it looks like, due to stupidity, I have lost another of my nine lives. I got home, emptied my purse and laid out its contents to dry, took a shower, rinsed out my clothing and various other items and unloaded my groceries.
P.S. I told my husband I didn't want to drive the boat anymore!