‘She’s Leaking Like A Basket!’

I guess I was about 10 or 11 that summer. My grandmother was friends with a family who owned a cabin at Golden Sands. They had one daughter, Gail, so when they invited my grandmother and me to go with them for a brief vacation, we accepted.

Golden Sands is a beautiful spot with wide sandy beaches around a freshwater pond, surrounded by tall trees. The pond empties out into the salt water and eventually runs into one of the harbours in that area.

We met up with another girl there whose name was Clara. One day we found a little boat on the beach and thought we’d have some fun by taking it out for a little ride. Gail didn’t want to come with us; she was playing with someone on the beach. So Clara and I pushed the boat off into the water and climbed aboard.

We didn’t get far before we discovered that our little craft was leaking. One of us took the oars and the other began bailing with a rusty old tin can. Then one of the oars broke off and water was coming in faster.

‘She’s leaking like a basket!’ I said and Clara agreed.

There was a second rusty can in the bottom. We were soon so engrossed in bailing we failed to notice that our leaky boat was drifting farther from shore, out into deeper water. By the time we realized our true situation, we were in water too deep for us to walk back and neither of us could swim.

Luckily, our boat drifted ashore on a patch of land above the water level. We got out, wondering what our next step should be. We could see the beach not far away but we didn’t know how deep the water was. It was dark, with lots of grass growing in it. Of course, the grass should have been our clue that it wasn’t deep but we weren’t old enough to figure that one out.

My grandmother and her friend soon appeared on the beach, directly across from us. They asked someone who told them the water was deep in that section. They asked a second person who said we could easily walk across but we wouldn’t budge until my grandmother’s friend came to meet us.

After we were safely back on the beach, we learned that we had actually had a narrow escape. If our boat had drifted around that little sandy isle, instead of grounding on it, we would have drifted out into the salt water. Our leaky boat would have sunk and we would have … well, suffice it to say that we were foolish but very lucky would-be sailors!

© Fay Herridge
Published in Canadian Stories, Jun/Jul 2014

Non-fiction 1

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