Overboard

Seabell and her sister were trained on basic sailing. Concerning that, the most exciting thing I’ve done up to this date was crossing the sea in a powerful racing boat. In terms of speed there’s nothing to compare and I felt excited and secure at same time. However, my enthusiasm was short lived because the owner, and my friend, told us that an accident at the speed we were cruising would be fatal for sure.

I never had the “displeasure” of falling from any kind of boat but I do know two brave ladies who were “ejected” from the comfort of yachts sailing the bay, both cases due to stormy weather.

The first lady was really lucky. She fell overboard during the day, his husband saw what happened and rescued her. They had been fishing near Santa Maria and when the weather changed they decided that the wisest thing to do was returning to Maputo. My friend must have slipped and suddenly found herself fighting the big waves that from time to time change the peaceful face of the bay. What I can tell you is that it wasn’t easy to save her. The next day I had dinner with the couple and saw how they still felt scared with the accident and relieved for the outcome.

Years ago my nextdoor neighbour, a Dutch lady whose husband was a sailing and fishing enthusiast, decided to spend the News Year Eve in their boat anchored at Inhaca Island. They left at sunset. Near Portuguese Island the weather turned sour. The sky was so dark that the skipper and other people on board couldn’t see the lady being dragged by a giant wave while she was trying to fasten a safety vest. When the boat arrived at Inhaca my neighbour was nowhere to be seen.

It was easy to conclude she had fallen overboard but all the first efforts to find her were unsuccessful. After realizing that the only way to save her would be to organize a huge rescue party, the yacht returned to Maputo and almost everybody who owned a boat was requested to help in the search.

The boats crossed the bay all night in vain. At dawn, a group of Inhaca fishermen saw an exhausted figure coming from the sea. She had survived ten hours of rough sea, in part due to the vest and in part to the fact that she didn’t fought the currents or tried to swim to a specific spot. On the contrary, she used the tide at her favor.

I had the opportunity to talk with her some weeks later. She seemed to be a very strong woman. I don’t know if I would survive an entire night alone in the middle of the bay. At some point of our nice chat I could see that beneath her “hard” look she liked to watch soaps on TV. So I left her home with the impression that she could have spent that tragic night thinking about the previous or the next chapter of Egoli.

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