Today's exercise is ... The Vessel: Write about a journey on a ship.
Hm, okay, writing about a journey on a ship. That’s a problem, I’ve never been on a ship. Will a boat do?
Way back when I was a teenager, my family and I were vacationing in Italy. One fine day it was decided that we would visit Capri. My late dad wouldn't hear of it, Capri is an island and the only way to get there was by boat. Dad didn’t like boats, because he hated, hated, hated, water.
But we weren’t alone, my late parents traveled with two other couples and their children and they made it their mission to get dad on a boat come hell or high water. To cut a long story short, dad eventually gave in. He looked at all the ships in the marina of Sorrento (where our hotel was) and figured those ships looked sturdy enough for him to be okay. So he gave the green light.
On the morning of our excursion to Capri dad got a bit of a surprise though … those big ships didn't go to Capri, only little boats did, boats that held a maximum of 12 people. “This isn’t a boat,” dad exclaimed, “this is a banana peel!” It took considerable persuasion, but eventually dad decided to risk it and stepped onto the boat where he got a second surprise … the boat had a glass bottom.
While all of us were mesmerized looking down at the fishes swimming in the clear blue water, dad sat rigid on the bench. He didn’t want to see no fishes, he didn’t want to see no water.
It got even worse as the boat pulled out to sea. At first we traveled at a gentle speed, the shipper allowing us to marvel at the blue water and the variety of fish, but at some point he ‘put foot down’ and the boat raced forward, bouncing up and down on the ever increasing waves.
Dad, as white as a sheet, started to look a little green around the gills. “Oeh” he groaned each time the boat hit the water, “Oeh, we’re gonna die. I know we’re gonna die. We’re not gonna make it.”
No sooner had we made it to Capri than we transferred from one boat into another, this time to go visit the blue grotto. This second boat was really worthy of the name banana peel. Only six people fitted in it and dad wasn’t going to be one of them. “No way,” he said, “you can go see the blue grotto without me. I’m staying right here.” Nothing and nobody could persuade him. So off we went without him.
As we arrived at the entrance of the blue grotto it became apparent why only banana peel boats undertook this journey … the opening of the grotto was so low no regular boat would have fitted.
Those of us who had their misgivings soon overcame their fear when they witnessed the magnificence of the grotto. It was a unique experience.
When we got back to Capri and told dad about what he had missed at the blue grotto he nodded “I’ll take your word for it.” When we got back to Sorrento he went inside a church and lit a candle for Saint Nicolas (patron saint of sailors). He never set foot on a boat again.