Today my story isn’t that pretty. Nor happy. I do want to share it with you though.
I was supposed to go on a long sailing trip this weekend on the Ijsselmeer (biggest lake in the Netherlands). The trip turned out to be a bit shorter than planned.
We (me and 12 others) gathered Thursday evening, slept on the boat, and took off Friday morning. The weather was good, the sun was shining, there was some strong wind but nothing risky.
I was with another girl inside the boat, which was moving quite much, but suddenly the boat started to tilt really bad and as I looked up I could see water starting to show at the window level. I realized something was going terribly wrong, and as I was heading towards the exit, water started pouring from the exit, into the boat. I tried to get out but the current was too strong. I felt an enormous fear; I just knew in that moment that if I didn’t get out I would die.
I knew there was another opening close by, but I wasn’t sure how to open it. I had just checked if all the hatches were shut properly, and that one was the only one that I wasn’t quite sure of how it opened and closed. I had to think of a special I once saw on TV where they showed how to get out of a car in the water. The main thing was opening a door before pressure built up and you wouldn’t be able to open anything anymore. But my one opening was not working out for me, and the other one I didn’t know how to open. At that point my friend called me over. She had managed to open the other opening. Water was already starting to pour inside from that opening (that was normally a hatch in the roof but was now on its side touching the water level) as well. She got out. I immediately followed. This all happened in a matter of seconds.
Apparently there had been a sudden strong ongoing wind hose. When trying to unleash the sail, one of the lines turned into a knot and got the sail stuck.
The boat had capsized and some people were in the water, others on the part of the boat that was still above the water. With some help I got on the boat. People were trying to count if nobody was missing.
Somehow – call it a coincidence, luck or God’s mercy – a rescue boat that was returning to a harbor was nearby, saw it happen, and was there in no time. They helped getting us on board. Some with more trouble than others. But in the end and with a 5 double check, the head count came to 13 people and we raced off to shore.
My clothes were soaked and I started to feel really cold. Some people with dry clothes gave their clothing to people with wet clothes.
At the shore we were received by the harbor master, ambulances and police. My temperature was slightly lower than usual, but OK. Two of us suffered from a slight hypothermia and were taken to the hospital for an extra check. Everyone came out healthy though, and apart from some bruises and a minor glass cut I am fine.
Right now I am still processing everything that happened. Above all I am very happy that the end of the story was a good one, but I am very aware of the possibility of it ending in a different way.
I had my camera in my pocket and it got soaked, so at the moment I probably won’t be taking blogging pictures. Apart from that, I think I need some time to take everything in, and I will probably be blogging a bit less in the upcoming time than usual. I do plan to be back with many happy and colorful posts again soon, but for now I am just taking it one step at a time.
My biggest challenge at the moment is to give myself some space to process. I consider myself as being pretty tough, and I usually keep on going unless I am physically not able to do so any more. In a way I feel like I am not entitled to my emotions, since everything turned out well in the end. Like being shaken by this event is a bad reason for taking things slowly, since I am still physically capable of accomplishing work. There where having a fever would be a proper excuse, I feel like my recent experience is not a ‘good enough reason’. I find it really hard to acknowledge the effect the whole thing has on me, which is bigger that I expected, and to not feel ‘weak’ for experiencing the feelings I have.
I still remember the fear on my friends face. I keep replaying the same video over and over in my head of the water pouring in. It is the last thing I see before falling asleep.
Anything that doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. And I think I can learn from this experience. I also think I am still in the process of doing so. I’ll just have to give it some time.
On the bright side, I had a very adventurous weekend and a great story to tell my kids one day ;)
joyce matula welch
April 30, 2012 at 23:29
So glad you and your friends are okay! My goodness what an adventure. You are right to take time to process and sort through your thoughts and emotions. One step at a time.
Keeping you in my thoughts and in my heart.
May 1, 2012 at 00:32
Oh my that’s terrifying!! SO glad you, and everyone else, escaped unharmed. You poor thing. I don’t even know what I would have done… you’re so brave.
May 1, 2012 at 01:29
Oh wow! That’s just crazy–like out of a movie! (And I should know, I’ve been watching all the ‘Jaws’ movies the past couple days.) I can tell this has really affected you, so no one could blame you for taking some time to process and recover. I wish you luck in that and that you come out at the end feeling back to “normal.”
I’m glad everyone’s ok! Feel better!
May 1, 2012 at 02:50
That sounds absolutely terrifying! So glad you’re okay though. I know what it’s like to have that horrifying image replay over and over again and it’s no fun.
But way to keep things positive – a great adventurous story that will be someday :)
May 1, 2012 at 04:37
Oh dear, that is so awful. Thank goodness everyone is ok physically, and hopefully with time will also be ok emotionally. This just sounds so very scary so of course it will take time to fully heal.
Thinking of you,
May 1, 2012 at 04:47
What an ordeal. And not to trivialize the experience but isn’t the human brain amazing how it can pull out that piece of information from a television show.
Take the time to get back to feeling like yourself again. We’ll be here when you get back
May 1, 2012 at 05:07
Oh Marielle! I am so thankful to God that you are OK. I am so sorry you went through this ordeal, how traumatic for you and for all. You were sent angels if you ask me :)
You take the time you need from this, it can cause possibly PTSD and it’s important to go through your emotions, and be gentle with yourself. There is nothing wrong with the way you are feeling!
I hope you heal, and take the time you need, we will miss you!!!
May 1, 2012 at 15:16
I’m so glad you’re okay. I can’t imagine how scary that was. Hope you feel better soon <3
May 1, 2012 at 15:19
You sound like a very brave and sensible girl to me. Take care of yourself, take all the time you need, and don’t ever feel guilty for feeling scared!
May 1, 2012 at 16:29
Wow! I’m so glad that everyone is okay. Seems like you kept your cool during the whole ordeal…..most of us wouldn’t have. You are a very brave girl.
May 2, 2012 at 13:39
Wow, I wasn’t expecting to be reading something like this… I’m so glad nothing worse happened to any of you! And I hope you overcome the shock soon, even though it must be everything but easy!
May 2, 2012 at 18:58
I hope you’re ok, be kind to yourself and take it easy. It was a good thing to write it all down like this and not to try and push the thoughts away. It was a one off freak event and you coped amazingly. You are brave and smart. Thinking of you.
May 2, 2012 at 22:35
What a scary experience, I’m so glad you were all ok. Look after yourself x
May 3, 2012 at 11:53
thank God you’re okay!
May 4, 2012 at 10:56
Oh, I’m so glad that you and your friends are okay!
This sounds really scary.
Take your time and take care of yourself!!
May 7, 2012 at 05:13
How are you feeling honey?
May 11, 2012 at 09:30
I just wanted to say hi.
So, hi! :)
I hope you’re okay and you’ll come back here soon.
May 11, 2012 at 15:10
Oh my goodness. Wow. I can’t even imagine going through that – I hope you’re doing okay and that you’re slowly coming to terms with what happened! Take your time!
Rolled Up Pretty
May 14, 2012 at 21:47
SO HAPPY YOU ARE OKAY! That is so scary and I am so sorry!
Big Tavel Adventure
July 10, 2012 at 22:32
what an ordeal. take care!