After feeling like a chicken, I made a solemn vow.
If I ever had a chance to jump off the side of that ship in to the Atlantic again, then I would do it no matter how scared I was.
But the odds of that happening again were pretty small. The weather had to be perfect. The captain had to be convinced. We had to have extra time before arriving at a port, which means the engines had to work perfectly for the whole voyage. And on a fifty year old ship, that was highly unlikely.
So it was an easy vow to make. And it made me feel better about being such a chicken.
Of course, you know what happened next. Four years later, we’re on our way to the same port, with the same captain and the same weather.
He makes the call and as soon as school is out, I run back to my cabin to change in to my swimsuit before I think too much and chicken out again.
Chris is there and he asked, “Are you really going to do it?” When I nod, he changes in to his suit, too.
We line up on B-deck. For safety’s sake, the captain has decided that he’ll let twenty people off at a time for twenty minutes each. Our turn comes quickly and I’m terrified. But Chris has already jumped and it’s my turn. I hold my nose and close my eyes and throw myself overboard as fast as I can.
Once the splash is over, I find Chris and I’m almost giddy. I feel so brave! I can conquer anything! Also, this is hella fun! The water is so blue and it’s fun to wave at all the crew who are up on the deck waving at us.
Wait. They’re looking kind of panicky. Sharks?! That’s what I get for being brave. Our whole group bolts back to the ship and climbs back up the net. In my head I’m planning what to do if I see fins or hear music.
The captain meets us at the door– he’s checked the radar and he’s pretty sure it’s just a school of dolphins nearby. The watchman on duty right now is also known for his pranks, and apparently it was just a quick and sudden game of telephone, where the wrong information traveled fast.
He told us we could go back out, but I decided I’d been brave enough for one day.