Whoosh. A big gust of wind lends strength to the sail and away we go.
Speeding through the water it’s been ten seconds since we left shore and already I am completely soaked. The boat crashes through each wave, water spraying everywhere. I can feel the rush of raw energy all around me. The wind is around 20 knots, what have I gotten myself into?
I am restless and on all fours awaiting instruction. Paul Inden is the captain of this voyage, seasoned sailor and zone forester with the Natural Resources district of Fort St. James. He’s steering and seated calmly near the back of the boat. As we continue to pick up speed I am told to sit down. I find myself wildly searching for somewhere to hold onto as I bounce up and down because of the waves. I finally centre myself on the front corner of the boat with my legs hanging over the edge. I take a deep breath and laugh, the waters spray tickling my feet. I look up and now is the first time since we pushed off I’ve had a chance to notice the scenery. Wow… what a beautiful view it is, to be surrounded by open water and mountains in the distance. In that moment all the crashing, water spraying, and bouncing of the waves became blurred and I just felt free, like a fish in the ocean. Like Rose at the front of the Titanic. How invigorating to feel nothing but the wind. Maybe this is how Pocahontas felt.
“Ok were going to turn now,” said Mr. Inden. “Get ready to switch sides. Now….GO!”
I scramble to the other side making sure my head stays under the height of the sail. I find the same symmetrical space to hold onto as the boat slowly turns. The sail is flapping in the wind and suddenly tightens up.
“Let the sail go. Pull that rope and let the sail go,” said Mr. Inden.
I do what he says and whoosh, the sail opens and away we go. We’re now speeding through the water in the opposite direction. What an intense feeling. Knowing you are in control but it is the wind that powers you. We whipped back and forth in the water a few more times before heading towards the shore. My heart still racing and my body full of adrenaline. I’ll admit, I was scared at first, but I would go sailing again any time.
Thanks to Paul Inden for taking me out on his sailboat and to Stuart Lake for offering up some fun waves.