Years ago on my first sailboat i had quite an experience. It was early spring and i was out on the chesapeake bay
on my sloop
with several friends and john paul, my cat. Anyway we were on a broad reach when suddendly chessie (our version of the loch ness sea monster) appeared as we were heading towards our home port off the rhode river. When about 25 to 50 yards off starboard she broke through the surface. Yes, it was chessie and she was not a happy camper. I went below to fetch my camcorder when i heard a terrifying scream from one of the crew above. I rushed back up top-sides to witness that chessie had taken hold of john paul with her powerful jaws. And in one gulp swallowed poor john paul whole ! Unbelievable and yet all the while not one of us on board yet knew the worse was to come. Chessie had, unknown to us at the time an unsatiable appetite for cats. John paul was the only cat on board !
The next thing we knew chessie started to swoop down towards our boat again with open jaws, this time to take our tiller-man. Hard alee, shouted our pilot and we came about, not a moment too soon, causing the boom to violently swing over to port. This caused me to lose my balance and my camcorder went sailing out of my hand and into the air . But it did save our tiller-man for chessie jerked her head
around thinking it might be another cat trying to escape and swallowed the camcorder as it flew into the bay waters.
Meanwhile we noticed off towards the horizon a waterspout headed our way with the largest thunder storm clouds any of us had seen to date right behind it ! We tried to start our aux engine
but to no avail. It just would not turn over. We checked the fuel
line. The water
spout meanwhile kept drawing nearer along with the most massive thunder storm in the history
of the chesapeake bay
right behind !, and chessie had yet to resurface. We were hoping she had gotten indigestion from eating the camcorder and decided to leave us alone. Anyway, while one of us worked on the engine
the rest of us started to take down the sails
in preparation for the high winds and killer waves that look like we would be unable to avoid from the water
spout and the thunder storm that seemed to grow darker than the slick of poor john paul's blood chessie left behind that seemed to follow us upon the waters surface.
As we lowered the main, having already furled the head
sail, the wind
started to shriek wildly. We quickly stowed all the gear
and went about securing all hatches. We noticed the winds were up to about 70 knots before the anemometer blew off the mast
. Immediately there after we all went below. As we sat in the cabin
the waves slammed against the hull
one after another sending massive vibrations throughout the boat. As we looked out of the cabin
port-holes we could see that our boat was being carried up the crests of what must have been at least 20 foot plus waves only to cascade down the other side smashing in to and over the next one over and over again. Our boat suddenly rolled over completely, not once, but four times. Miraculously we found ourselves just as suddenly righted and in becalmed waters. We were finally able to start the aux engine
and sped towards home port ending one hell of a days sail.
Later that night at a local bar in annapolis
, while downing beers, all of us vowed never to let john paul's memory fade from our thoughts and prayers.
And that people is a true story, believe it or not. May god rest john paul's soul in cat heaven.