Have you ever had the feeling that the whole world was tipping to one side? It’s called the sideways feeling, for those of you who have never heard of it.
Having recently arrived in Norfolk, Virginia, all of us on Shang Du had been graced with the opportunity to experience the thrill of this feeling.
We anchored at a place which was deep enough for us… or so we thought.
Shang Du had begun slightly bumping the bottom, but we didn’t think much of it. Yeah, it was a little too shallow for Shang Du, but it was getting late and my Dad was off in the dingy (new and improved) to go and check stuff out at the Marina. By the time he came back in the dark it was already too late. Shang Du’s waterline was a good 5 cm lower than usual. We were standing in the mud. So we decided to wait for the next morning when the tide was back in and we could see the world around us.
But the tide only kept on leaving.
We had finished supper and most of us were done with our mugs of Chumba Chai. (A treat that is a little like hot chocolate, but very different.) My mom was reading a story to us. We always read in the evenings as a family, before going to bed. I think it was the ‘Sword and the Staff’ series.
Shang Du’s keel had rested on the sand which wasn’t even, so we were tilting slightly to port. Sophia and I were nervous about this, but Marike and my Dad assured us that the boat wouldn’t fall over.
At the happy scene where we were all sitting with our empty mugs, feeling content and beginning to feel the effects of sleepiness… the boat tipped.
You should have seen Sophia’s face as she practically lunged over the room to get on the opposite side of the boat.
It was quite a shock. I couldn’t get my heart to stop beating. I was filled with adrenaline. We all got out into the cockpit and sat as far as possible on the up side.
The port-side of Shang Du wasn’t in the water, but close. We launched Andy to see what we could do…
It was scary. Not only had the tide gone down so much that we were now almost lying on our side in the mud, but it was still going down.
It felt like ages for it to start coming back in. My Dad and Marike were in the dingy trying to drag the anchor into deeper water.
It was cold. Very cold. Autumn was working hard. And we were tired.
At last the tide began to trickle in. I think it was around midnight that this happened. We watched the tilting meter inside the boat as we slowly began to lean less to the side. We kept yelling encouragement to my Dad and Marike on the dingy, while they kept going.
At about one o’clock, I think, the boat was almost level again. My mom boiled the kettle, so we could all have a hot drink before bed.
It was a relief when the boat was upright again, but I couldn’t help feeling sideways for about a week afterward that.
Ladies and gentlemen…. (eerie music) the sideways feeling. (Whooooo) for your part, I hope you never get it.