A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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The Luckies


On the 17th day of our trip around the world, Conor came within inches of being swept from the deck of the GAP II into the Pacific Ocean.

I remember it all too vividly:

The day was bright and clear as we made our way from North Seymour Island to Chinese Hat Island in the Galapagos. The captain had the boat near top speed – seven knots – as we covered the open ocean between the two islands.

The boat was headed into the wind and the prevailing current, and there was a light chop on the water. We were five hundred miles off the coast of Ecuador and five miles from the nearest point of land.

The four families aboard were on deck, enjoying the sunny day.  Hanzel, our tour guide, was napping.  The captain was on the bridge and the crew was below deck.

Most of the kids were sitting on the metal benches at the bow of the boat, holding on to the rails and dangling their legs over the edge.

As the boat powered through the chop, ocean spray would fly over the bow, giving the kids a light shower. With every wave the kids would squeal with delight.

Conor was sitting inside the main cabin, missing the fun.  His friend Meg ran to get him.  I helped position Conor on the bench and told him to hold on tight, but I’m not sure he was really listening.

Within moments I saw a large wave heading towards the boat – the biggest so far.

“Hang on,” I said to the kids.  “Here comes a big one.”

The wave hit the bow with such a jarring force it sent kids flying.  The metal bench was suddenly slick as ice, making it hard to hold on.

Conor was knocked flat on the bench and was perilously close to slipping through the railing into the ocean.

Chris, a twelve-year-old who was sitting next to Conor, was thrown outside the boat and was suddenly clinging to the railing, calling for help.

Dani and I dashed across the deck.  I threw myself on Conor, who was lying semi-conscious on the bench after hitting his head on the metal railing.

Dani grabbed Chris, and with Cam McPherson’s help, managed to pull him back in the boat.  In less than thirty seconds both kids were safe. But it felt like a lifetime.

Once things settled down and Conor was resting inside the main cabin, I went below to our room.  I staggered into the bathroom and threw up.

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July 8, 2009   3 Comments

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