Captain! O my Captain! by Ian Thomas

At about the time I turned sixteen my family and I were enjoying a holiday at the seaside. My father had rented a motor boat so that we could enjoy fishing on the river that flowed into the sea just a mile or so away from our dock. He had left on a business trip, leaving me as man of the house and captain of the boat.

I was excited when my mother, my aunt and my younger sister wanted me to take them fishing to one of our favorite spots on the river not far from where the river entered the sea. So off we went. The motor purred away as we swept down the river on an outgoing tide. Not far from the bar of the river in deep and swift water I cast out the anchor and we began to fish. No bites. We were very patient but it eventually dawned on us that we were out of luck.

That wasn’t our chief concern. We all noticed the groan as the anchor began to give way in the loose sand way down there at the bottom of the river as the outgoing tide, now at full flow, was dragging us all too swiftly toward the tempestuous waters of the bar. Time to get the anchor up and get out of there. 

As I pulled up the anchor I noticed that there was a leather strap about four feet long tangled around the anchor rope. Very strange. It was the type of strap that one wrapped around the flywheel to crank the boat’s motor to get it started. Then came the awful realization. It wasn’t just some luckless boater’s strap, it was ours! I had obviously cast it out with the anchor when we first arrived.

Meanwhile the boat was drifting swiftly toward the turbulent waters of the bar. I quickly untangled the strap from the anchor rope and wound it round the flywheel. One quick yank and the motor started. There was relief on all faces as I grabbed the tiller and steered the boat upriver against that brutal outgoing tide.

Progress was agonizingly slow as dusk began to settle on the river. We had brought no light with us and were now in danger of being rammed by other boats whose crews might not see us until too late. Then all of a sudden the motor sputtered and stopped. We were out of gas.

To save you further worry I hasten to add that a boat with a captain far wiser than I had seen our obvious distress and towed us to our dock. 

Anybody want to go fishing with me?

 

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