The Bermuda Triangle


East of Cape Canaveral we turned eastward in response to weather conditions. The winds had picked up, and seven to ten foot swells were coming on strong, row after row. With our new heading we were pulling 10 knots, sometimes even 13, due to heavy winds and the fact that we were literally surfing the swells. A trail of white foam traced out our path, slowly fading behind the current monstrous wave that we were hopelessly trying to reach the bottom of. Ominous darkness lay dead ahead, weaving blackness together under a moonless night as if some wizard somewhere was waving his arms and practicing his most powerful spell yet. The swells continued to grow, throwing us around to the point that all of us were no longer thinking of moving about. Clutching our nearest secure holds we were all wide eyed, and quiet. Fear began to show its ugly head, yet somewhere in the midst of it, as we sailed straight into the belly of darkness, an odd beauty stayed at our side. I watched in awe, full of mixed feelings, as our phosphorescent surfing trail percolated behind us and then disappeared over the top of the swells. “Shit, Shit,” our captain kept saying as he looked straight ahead. We all knew what that meant. We had to go outside to take down the front sail and reef the main. Splashing water poured over the side of the boat, drenching Angela in her coveted spot, and dousing the cockpit. Her facial expression didn’t change in the slightest. Constant thuds under the hull were slapping us around at will. “The winds are at 30 maybe 35 knots,” Gwen said. If we didn’t drop some cloth soon we wouldn’t ever have to again. It wasn’t raining, but you wouldn’t know it to look at us climbing outside. Angela took the wheel. Usually at this point she would turn a bit upwind to make things easier on us, but all she could do in this situation was wait to hand us the winch handle through the little plexiglass window at the right time, and be ready to throw out a life jacket if one of us got thrown off by a ten foot wave as it engulfed the bow of the ship. Dead ahead was a full-blown tropical storm. All night we slid around the boat, water crashing in, pouring everywhere. Everything was wet, everything was out of place, knives flew around as we rushed to pin them down and put them inside a secure compartment, bruising our knees, elbows, and shoulders as we slammed into walls after sliding across the floor. The wind picked up even more. “Forty knots,” our captain said. “This definitely qualifies as a tropical storm. Let’s hope it doesn’t grow into a hurricane.” There would be no sleeping this night, not a single minute. All we could do was try to eat saltine crackers, sip on ginger ale, and hold on while we tried to remind ourselves to stop holding our breaths. I kept thinking that if we made it to sunrise then we’d be ok. When day broke the only thing that had changed is that now we could see the waves coming at us. They were huge – 25, sometimes 30 feet tall. We watched with white knuckles as we went up and down, constantly in fear of double waves, the ones that would send you straight up, then just as you coming down, pointing either nose down or tipped with one side down, the second wave would come crashing in drowning us in the cockpit. The grey sky was void of any patches of hope. More saltines and ginger ale as we shivered in wrinkled skin. All day long in continued. Just before sunset we started to see small patches of blue sky, and miraculously, a rainbow. I always heard that rainbows were good signs, but never before had it been so personal. Then we noticed something crazy. According to our compass, the thing we had been staring at so intently to get us through this, we were going directly east. But the sun was setting directly at our left. I was pretty sure that even in the Bermuda triangle the sun was supposed to set in the west, but what did I know. We had all heard the ghost stories about compasses acting strangely in the Bermuda triangle, about the rough seas, and about disappearing ships. None of us had put any stock in those particular stories, but now that we were two for three, tropical storm and a northern sunset, we had to worry about what would come next. The next day I stared at our GPS position and noticed that we were tracking north, but the compass said we were going east. Then we found the culprit – a magnetized screwdriver had rolled up under the compass and was interfering with its magnetic field. Whew! Maybe that means we are only one for three and if we are lucky we can just leave it at that.

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6 Responses to The Bermuda Triangle

  1. Chris says:

    My absolute fear = what I just read. I’d rather be dangling off a cliff face than the scenario you described, haha. So, yeah, one day we’ll all sail, eh? This year I have school and family obligations, but adventures and fears to be conquered always await ^_^

    So glad you’re safe: lots of love from the SLC. MUAH!

  2. Lori Johnson says:

    Hi Thad and Angela and Gwen… Ok ok ok, I think this is the blog story your mom wanted me to read…. well, I read the both of them.. and twice.. I have a visual of you all in your rubbers, sheets of water you did not choose to wear as masks, and the tumbling of a washing machine with the spin cycle ON… All of what could move or that wasn’t nailed down was tossing free form?????? This sounds so surreal.. like a nightmare. It is said that, “while sailing a turbulent sea storm such as this one, you are supposed to sail parallel to the waves or storm.. is that right? And then you can ride the storm surges out , I guess you are supposed to respect MOTHER WATER, and not cause a fuss…… This encounter gives me EBGB’s only because I feel there really is something with the urban legend of THE BURMUDA TRIANGEL…. Now the funny part… I AM SO SURE… Only these funny things happen to THADLY… wondering where and why the hell the GPS.. is flailing all about.. spinning like The Twister board game’s “spinner”… all along it was the magnetic screwdriver.. Holy Hell…. The end of this chapter JUST THE END NOW.. rivals the hilarity of the snowman and the plow story… I am sorry I laughted just now, but it was funny, the screwdriver in cahoots with the all knowing, all powerful Bermuda Triangle….. lol. lol. I have a link I just got today ooooops, yesterday about the Bermuda Triangle and will bolt it to “the blog” ok?? Give you something to read and to ponder on… ok??
    Love you both…

  3. Lori Johnson says:

    Hi Skip and Skipperella,
    Up above, this was just on the internet!! I really thought you would love to read about it… maybe you already know about it, but it gives ya somethin’ to re read or read. Geeeeeeze I am relaxed now knowing your sailed out of that stormy messy recipe of seawater… I hope you put your laundry out in a laundry bad on the side of the boat, all of that swishing and swooshing in the salt water would’ve made you alll had the brightest and cleanest clothes EVAR.. The Navy and Marines was ALL OF THE sailors’ and crew’s clothes this way.. in laundry bags and drag ’em along the ocean.. YES, THIS IS A LITTLE TIP FOR YA….. and it’ll save you “HIGH TIDE” prices.. YES PUN WAS INTENDED.. lol lol…
    LOVE AND LIGHT.. THAD.. bring me home a souvenir…..a FREE ONE..

  4. Lora Nichols says:

    Okay…..Dr. Who/m is to blame for this./? (It’s a decisive reality joke…get it?) >.< baha haha

  5. We loved hanging out in the coffee shop with you in Bermuda until the rain stopped. We wish you well on your trip and thought of you each time we ate butter on the cruise ship. Hope you’re blessed with smooth waters from now on.