The Shore Is Close

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One of the tales parents recite to their children in order to inform them about the dangers the sea hides, I had the pleasure of experience when I was an adolescent and not yet a firm believer that the most beloved part of my country, its sea, could really cause me or my family any harm. Not that I was coming from a family of sailors or that my father was a captain of a big ship or anything like that, but mainly because both of my parents were considering themselves to be seekers, travelers of the shore and the unknown dark blue waters. Especially my father, who used to be a very experienced scuba diver was always eager to give us a “sea lesson” while we were sailing with our small, but very loved, fishing boat.

The summer that I was about to turn fifteen and my brother was almost twelve, my father decided that we have enjoyed the island’s shores long enough and we were ready to receive our first practical sea lesson. We boarded our small fishing boat and after following my father’s expert advice, we begun our trip into the unknown clear blue sea. Our goal was to visit another small island, not far away from the one we lived during our summer vacations, and learn, through practical training, some important things he has been describing to us over the years. I remember looking at the horizon and getting mesmerized by its beauty. I still remember like it was yesterday, how the clear light blue sky created a thin white line at the point where it was united with the darker blue sea. The wind gently assisted our goal to leave the harbor and although there was undoubtely always something I had to do or watch someone else doing while I was on board, I can still taste the salt from the water drops that traveled through the wind and dried on my lips. In fact, that long boat trip was the first time that I felt part of nature; a part of that beautiful scenery and totally, one hundred percent, alive.

A little more than an hour later we managed to approach the deserted small island we planned that day to visit and my father yelled -probably due to the wind which was becoming stronger- that he was aware of a beautiful sandy beach where we could camp for the rest of the day. Everything went according to the original plan and we successfully set foot on that virgin shore to enjoy the warm day and cool down by diving to the sea depths to admire closer its beauty. My brother screamed happily as he jumped from the boat to the sea and later I was determined to dive from a much bigger height when I discovered that I could climb the rocks that surrounded the excluded beach. But the adventure was about to begin.

When we decided to leave the warmth and friendly shore we have spent more than three hours, my father discovered that our small boat engine was not working. After multiple attempts to start the engine that would help us safely return home, I understood that he was now stressed that he had to sail back only by pulling the boat’s two oars. He succeeded in leading the boat out to deeper water and only then we realized that the sea curves were so strong that it was impossible for us to get home safely that way. In addition, the wind velocity kept increasing and instead of moving towards the direction we wanted it seemed like we were moving further and further away. Luckily my father did not give up hope. He continued to try to keep our spirits up and laugh through this sea adventure, but when I saw his eyes looking very seriously at the situation, that glance told me more than words could ever describe. That was the point that I got scared and thought that there was actually a possibility of us never returning. Although I was not doubting that my father could lead us to safety and I could not believe that such a tragedy could ever be the actual scenario I would have to face -after all I was with my superhero dad- a voice inside my head kept yelling that I had to remain calm and help his efforts any way I could if we were to make it. In fact, while he was trying to get the engine to start, my brother and I held the oars and tried to pull them together towards the shore. When my father was in charge, we were almost hanging from the boat and assisting his efforts using our hands as two extra oars, one from each side of the boat. We did exactly what he instructed and three hours later, we were inside our island’s harbor. My dad kept shouting “the shore is close” and the sound of his voice gave us the necessary courage to keep oaring with our hands. Three and a half hours later we managed to step off the boat. Needless to say that our sea adventure was the highlight of that year’s summer vacations, but most importantly it taught us a huge practical lesson. Never take anything for granted when visiting unknown waters; exactly like in life.

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