It is a wonderful idea to learn a lot of things. This is because you can never tell when what you have learned will be useful and sometimes what you have learned could just save your life whenever you find yourself in danger. I learned this lesson the hard way when I almost died on the river.
I was in a boat with thirty-two other passengers, and we were going to visit a small island for experiment purposes. I was part of a group of ten scientists who were to carry out the experiments.
While I was discussing with some of my friends, six armed and masked men suddenly stepped on deck. I looked around to check where they had come from and I saw that beside our boat was a sailboat. And just like that, we were subdued and made to lie down with our eyes closed.
“First of all,” one of the armed men said. “We want you to submit all your cellphones. Failure to comply will result in sudden death. Trying to be a hero will lead to sudden death. Trying to escape will lead to sudden death. Therefore, if you love yourself and your life, just keep quiet and listen to instructions.”
Obediently, we all submitted our cellphones to a man who collected everything in a pouch. I had never been so scared in my life. With shaky hands, I submitted my phone. When it was Sarah’s turn, the man pushed her and forcefully collected her phone. Sarah was one of the scientists and my friend. Then he pulled off her necklace from her neck.
“Give me that!” Sarah shouted. As she tried to grab the necklace from the man’s hand, he slapped her, and the slapped her again.
“Will you stop that nonsense?” This was from me. I didn’t even know when I said it out loud.
The man paused as he was about to slap Sarah again. “What did you say to me?” he asked.
It was like my tongue got stuck. My heart began to beat very wildly, and I was sure that the gunman and the rest of the people on the boat could hear it beating. “I…I …” I stammered. I was sure that he would shoot me.
He gave me a dirty slap, and I don’t know how it happened, but I snapped. I delivered a punch to his face, which broke his nose and blood spurted from his nose. The others looked towards me, and I saw the rage in their faces. They all raised the guns and pointed it at me. I tan towards the nearest railing, and just as they fired, I dived into the river.
They sprayed the water with bullets, but I was already out of range. I swam to their empty sailboat and climbed in. I could still hear their voices as they searched for me. I planned to sail the boat away back to the city and call for help. I stood in the sailboat and didn’t know what to do.
They would soon figure out that I was in their boat and if they caught me, I would be in very big trouble. I didn’t even have any idea of the type of sailboat it was. I didn’t see any controls. I thought it would be like a ferry where I will just press a button and use the wheel to control the boat. The sails added to my confusion.
They found me and began to shoot at me, not caring if they destroyed their boat in the process. They planned to take our boat. I had to dive back into the water. I was a great swimmer, so I had no problem hiding until the Coast Guard came and arrested the gunmen.
Once I got back to the city, I went to meet my friend, Josh, who had several sailboats. I told him to teach me how to sail. I even promised to pay him whatever he asked for. He refused, of course. We had been friends for so long. We chose the weekends as the day we would do the learning.
On the first day of the training, I was very eager to learn. He told me that firstly, I had to know about all the common terms about sailboats, especially all the parts of the boat. He had a labeled diagram of a sailboat in his hand, but he chose to show me the parts of the physical boat.
He showed me the bow, the cleat, the halyard, the keel, the mainsail, the stern, the wheel, which I already knew and other parts of the boat. Then he told me about all the types of sailboats available which included cutter, sloop, ketch, schooner, yawl, and so on. From his description, I got that the sailboat of those gunmen was a cutter.
The sailboat that Josh used to teach me was a sloop.
After teaching me about the terms related to sailboats, he taught me how to prepare the boat itself. He stripped down all the lines and began to fix them all from the beginning. He told me to listen and watch attentively. To show him how serious I was, I had a pen, and a jotter in hand and I wrote down everything he said.
“You have to check the lines that control and raises the sails,” he said. I wrote down everything.
He taught me how to point the boat in the wind, and then we prepared to hoist the sails.
“You have to hoist the sails by pulling down on the halyard until it stops,” Josh said. I found everything so fascinated and exciting.
He taught me how to adjust the heading and sail the trim for the wind. After teaching me how to trim the mainsail, we then sailed the boat. Soon, we were heading down the river. He taught me many other things.
When we returned, he asked me to do everything he had done, right from the beginning. I followed my notes and began to do all he did. Where I couldn’t do something right, he helped, and at the end, I was able to do it myself though it wasn’t as perfect as he had done his.