Living life at sea, there are certain rules one needs to adhere to—rules from my readings are written in the blood of the past. Rule number one aboard Dream was that the lifeline harness was always worn and secured to Dream. I’ve never even thought of breaking that rule, and never did. Rule number two is when out on deck, the hatch stays closed and sealed. On this glorious sunny afternoon, I broke that rule. I locked the hatch in its wide-open position. It served to dry out any dampness, and air out an otherwise stuffy cabin. Any other time, I would have sat below, but it was just too nice of a day, and without much thought, figured, “What’s the harm?” One wave pretty much looks like the next and it’s easy to fall into a rather day-dreamy mood. But each wave is unique, in some slight way or another. And suddenly there was one, ever so slightly different—just a little steeper than the others perhaps. . .
The suddenness of all this pitched me over the starboard side, but I managed to grab hold of the portside pulpit with my left hand. As I slid across the deck and into the sea, the left side of my rib cage grated over one of the deck’s jam cleats. The pain from my ribs almost made me let go. I wasn’t completely overboard; however, I wasn’t onboard either.