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Sydney Island, A Narrow Escape

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Lucas Deming on November 22, 2009

After getting dumped on our landing, we spent six hours exploring the island. We found some Polynesian ruins that were noted in a rare book aboard the ship, and we ate our sole can of fruit cocktail. After dodging an eel attack during the walk back, we found the dinghy with a dead engine and a half-deflated bow chamber. We were all exhausted and dehydrated. With the sun hanging low in the sky and raging adrenaline rush going, I began a 40 minute battle with the engine's pull cord. The skipper stood over me saying, "she won't start until we can dry out the heads." On what I was sure would be the last pull I could muster, the engine roared to life. But the challenge had just begun. Over the course of the day, the tide had gone out exposing a shelf that we had floated over on the way in and making the waves crash against it's edge. There was no easy way off this island. The spot pictured here seemed to be out best bet, but it was only flat for a couple seconds before the water would rush out and the next wave would slam in. The plan was this: get the dinghy in the shallows with the motor running and when the timing seemed right, throw the skipper in, push as far out as possible, jump in and floor it. We sat for ten minutes trying to time the breaking surf, but there was no apparent rhythm. With the sun sitting just above the horizon I yelled, "now!" Somehow I landed on my head with my hand on the throttle and my feet hanging out. I cranked the handle and One_ill said, "left!" then "right!" I felt us go up and barely over the wave as water rushed in. When I finally got myself up, we were cruising over a reef lit by the golden light of the setting sun. I don't believe I've pleaded with god since.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on November 22, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Lucas Deming