How to nearly die at sea

I think there’s something about Millennials that makes us narcissistic. Maybe it’s all of the selfies?

It’s this deep rooted arrogance that leads us to believe that we are invincible.

Then again when you throw together a group of twenty somethings, alcohol and a bit of spending money stupid decisions are bound to happen. No matter what generation they were born in (yes mum and dad, you would have done the same).

This was the foundations to my trip to Split, Croatia.

A group of twenty, one large villa, many bottles of vodka, little vegetables, many mistakes.

I could write a long novel about the escapades over this week but I’m going to choose one adventure as the topic for this post, because I was primarily responsible for its occurrence.

Today’s post is going to be ‘How to nearly die at sea’.

1. Ignore the weather warnings

Being a very organised group of travellers *cough* we had our week planned with different activities every day. We were all in agreement that we wanted to do a boat excursion mid-week to see the Blue Lagoon and surrounding islands.

But mother nature wasn’t having any of it.

The day of our booking we had a call to say that the weather wasn’t suitable and that no boats were going out for the whole day.

Naturally we checked the iPhone weather app (a little shower in the afternoon – nothing!)

Decided we definitely knew better than the silly boat rep and head into town to rent our own bloody boat.

2. Ignore the advice of the excursion promoters 

When we got to the gorgeous little town of Trogir we immediately starting harassing the boat reps to let us commander a vessel.

They were more than happy to take our money… to go tomorrow!

It wasn’t even raining, it was still beautiful and sunny. It all seemed very cruel and unfair.

After walking up and down for a good 40 minutes pleading and bargaining with many stalls, finally a woman decided to take pity on us /sign our death sentence.

3. Hire a pre-pubescent driver 

Now I was in the CCF (Navy of course) at school and like to think I could manage my way around a boat. But without a license to hand it was necessary to hire a driver.

Our driver must have been around 15, looked about 11. A very timid and scared looking young man – I hope he got some money out of all this and wasn’t actually some sort of slave. There was no way this kid could keep his cool in a storm

But how were we to know what was coming for us?

It’s not like there were multiple weather warnings and people telling us DO NOT GO OUT TODAY.

Oh wait… yeah there was.

4. Consume much alcohol 

The sea is a cruel mistress.

Why is getting drunk on a boat in the middle of the sea a thing? Like think about it, just think about it. It’s essentially the same as everyone getting together on an unstable vessel, taking a drug which utterly destroys your motor skills and then placing your uncoordinated bodies and the unstable vessel on a surface which can easily kill you.

Lunacy.

Anyway I bought one of those boxes of red wine. Very common with 16 year olds at Reading Festival and your Aunt Sue with the five cats.

Anyway this was all very fine and dandy at the start of our adventure.

We arrived at the Blue Lagoon and started to jump off the front of the boat, do some snorkling with the fishies. It was like a scene from a go-pro advert.

It was here at the Blue Lagoon that the ‘light shower’ began.

5. Give the pre-pubescent driver alcohol 

Now that the rain had started it seemed appropriate to try and perk up the driver with a little tipple…

Now that surely is illegal?

Because he was surely under age and also operating heavy machinery.

Or do laws not apply on the sea?

Anyway it doesn’t make much sense.

It was on our way to the next town that the shower turned into rain, heavy and cold rain. We were moving further away from Trogir and deeper into the open ocean.

6. Act out that scene from ‘The Perfect Storm’

We were going very quickly to try and reach dry land sooner. The rush from the speed hid all discomfort from the rain. The impact from the boat tipping and dipping into the waves was throwing us around the boat.

Every time the boat would break contact with the water we’d let out screams of delight as we help onto caps and trying to take in the beautiful sights that surrounded us.

The rocky vast coastline with luscious green vegetation looks like an image from a medieval mythical land. The water is clear and a deep blue, on a calmer day we would have been stopping off in the coves, rock climbing and cliff jumping.

But not today.

As the heavy rain started the boys all gathered at the front of the boat, arms wide, tops off, yelling their battle cries into the rain and wind.

(Yeah I don’t get it either – must have been the booze).

As those big waves come into contact with us it felt like we were reenacting an intense thriller movie, or perhaps Wolf of Wall Street minus the Quaaludes.

7. Ignore the signs 

Once we reached the shore in the next port, we were a little wet but still quite high spirited. We decided to sit in a coffee shop and wait for the rain to stop so we could continue our exploration of the coast.

We ordered a round of espresso.

Hot chocolates.

Some snacks.

Then some alcohol.

The rain wasn’t stopping, our cash was running out. We were wasting money sitting there. What to do?

At this point we should have noted that there were no other boats on the sea.

And that our driver looked like he was about to cry.

8. Play with the dolphins 

So there we were, heading back into the open water in the pouring rain. We had to get back to Trogir or we would have to pay extra for the boat rental. It was there on open water that the heavy rain turned into a storm.

The Sky was dark and the clouds looked angry.

Poseidon had spitted us, as he had with Homer on his odyssey home from the Trojan war. This was our doing, in Greek mythology protagonists are punished for their lack of pious.

Millennials are definitely in short supply of piety, especially the ones on this boat.

And then like a gift from Athena herself a family of dolphins swam by the side of our boat – not surprising as we were the only boat left on the water. Being our simple, drunken selves we decided to start hanging over the sides of the boat to observe the dolphins.

In a storm.

At high speed.

Do not do this.

9. Leave people outside the hold

Shortly after our dolphin friends came to say hello, the thunder and lighting started. This is when it all started to get extra scary.

The moment thunder hit the ground behind the light house we all got a bit of a reality check.

This is dangerous.

We all started to sober up and get very cold. Some of the girls are very petite and the beginnings of hyperthermia were kicking in. Nobody was talking and people were huddling for body warmth.

There was a hold under the boat which was large enough to fit everyone in. But being the polite British people we are, those most in need were directed under and the rest of us continued to endure the storm.

10. Turn on each other

As we were all freezing cold and beginning to show the signs of exposure things got nasty.

The boat was running out of fuel and we’d spent all our cash in the cafe. Only two of us had money and were footed with a massive bill. We didn’t speak about it reasonably as we were in a rush to get out of the elements.

Bickering and bitching leads to snap decisions.

It’s important to remain a team when on an odyssey back to safety.

That’s my ten – step guide to how to die at sea based on personal experience. I hope that you learn from my mistakes and make better life choices.

But then again… it makes for a pretty fun story.

*Old man grumbles “Bloody millennials”.

 

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