Never Let Go!

Such fun we had on our carefree summer holidays so long ago!

This little episode generated a tremendous amount of hilarity (for years) for all those present - except me. I wasn't all that amused about it myself, but I can see the funny side now. It happened early on a beautiful, clear, calm summer morning. Pop, my father-in-law, was taking my family: husband, two children and me, out to sea in his boat, the Akita.

Whangamata Harbour

The sun sets on boats moored in Whangamata harbour

We were still at our mooring in Whangamata Harbour, getting ready to go. I was edging quickly along the narrow outside ledge that was toe width only, toward the front of the boat. You needed to lean inwards and hold on to the little rail around the top of the cabin but I must have let go of the rail - and found myself standing rather too upright, wavering a little on toe-tips with arms outstretched, trying to correct my balance. I couldn't seem to move but nothing appeared to change, either, for what seemed like an eternity, then in slow motion the unthinkable happened - the balance tipped in favour of 'the drink' and I was on my way in, with a big splash.

Down, down and still down I sank at a fast rate. Had I taken a big breath up there? It didn't feel like it. How long was this going to take? It occurred to me that I had better do something if the next breath was going to be air, not water so started kicking which slowed my rate of descent, very slowly, but gradually I came to a halt. There seemed to be a brief pause before I began the long rise to the surface. I discovered that you could hold your breath longer than you thought possible.

Bursting out of the water with a great gasp, I beheld the faces of my husband and father-in-law looking down at the spot where I had disappeared, registering utter disbelief and horror. Nice to know they did care about me (as if I didn't know really) because the concern immediately vanished and wicked grins spread across those two faces as soon as they heard my healthy yell of, "Aaah, get me out!"

Leaning nonchalantly against the side, they began passing comments such as:

"What is it?"

"Never seen one before."

"Do we want it?"

"Doesn't look like a very good specimen."

But I wasn't in the mood for their jokes at that moment and shouted up at them in a fury, "GET ME OUT!" I heard, "Oh, well, s'pose we'll have to." I don't recall exactly how I got back up there. They didn't dare laugh aloud, but they smiled a lot.

Next came the realisation that my two young teenagers, Kevin and Toshala, had been up at the front absolutely falling about, nearly killing themselves with mirth. No sympathy there either.

"You were gone a long time - did you touch the bottom?"


I knew our departure would not be delayed just because someone got a bit wet (even if it did amount to total immersion). Soon we cast off and slipped quietly out of the harbour onto a sparkling ocean as smooth as glass. Early morning freshness changed to warmth as the sun rose higher, and my light clothing dried out in an hour or so. Apart from the stiff, salt-caked clothes and bedraggled, salty hair I was none the worse for wear, except for my pride. It took a long time to live that one down.

But it is good to make people laugh...

If Your Life Does Not Give Joy If your life does not give joy To others, Then how can you expect Your heart to give any joy To you? - Sri Chinmoy.