It was a warm fall evening and dad and I sat on the flying bridge and sang, talked, and reveled in the beauty of the setting sun over the languid Pacific as we made our way to Catalina Island that Friday evening. My mother and sister were taking the public ferry over in the morning–mom too afraid to cross the channel in our 30-foot cabin cruiser at night.
There were no moorings available at Avalon, Catalina’s main harbor, which was always preferred for its calm sea protected by the rock breakwater. We had to pick up a mooring at St. Catherine’s, a small harbor on the north side of Avalon, exposed to the open ocean. Boats moored there continually pitched and tossed. Mom wasn’t going to be happy when she arrived with my sister on Saturday.
It was well after dark when dad got the boat in position and I grabbed the flag attached to the mooring line. I yanked the heavy rope out of the water, slipping and sliding on the deck as I secured it to our boat. By the time we laid anchor and tied the mooring lines it was almost 8:00 p.m. We caught the first water taxi to Avalon where we dined at the Flying Yachtsman, a favorite steak house for boater and locals. Just me and dad, captain and first mate, we ate mostly in silence, relishing the good meal after our long voyage.
We were almost through with dinner when a Coast Guard buddy of my father’s happened by and joined us for dessert. I was a little disappointed that my dad got involved in talking with his friend, Jim, and I was suddenly out of the loop. But I ate my apple crumb cake turning my head attentively to whomever was speaking, pretending to listen, though lost after the first few lines about horsepower in Jim’s new twin, fuel-injected engines.
After dinner, dad accepted Jim’s offer for a ride to our boat in his dinghy. I sat at the bow of the eight-foot skiff and dangled my hand over the side, letting my fingers comb the frothy waves created by the dinghy’s forward motion. My father sat in the center to keep the weight balanced, and Jim screamed over the engine as he drove. He described the damage from the Santa Ana winds that had blown through the island the previous week. Huge waves, some over 20 feet flooded storefronts. Several boats smashed into the shore when their mooring lines ripped from the ocean floor in St. Catherine’s.
And that’s when reality shifted. My awareness of where I was became distant, background to another. On some level I knew I was still on the skiff rounding the breakwater to the open sea on the way to our boat. But that’s not what I saw…
I wake on our boat in the middle of the night and lift my head to see the deep red light of the digital clock turn from 3:30 to 3:31. I glance over at my father sleeping next to me on the pull out bed in the main cabin. He’s turned away, snoring loudly. I slide the small curtain aside to glance out the window, and instead of the expected blackness I see a white sailboat six feet from our starboard side. It takes me a second to get that we’re about to crash into each other, suddenly aware that during the night our mooring line must have broken and we are free floating. Deck lights lit and mast lights on, every detail of the sailboat registers in my head–white, with light blue trim around the portholes and polished teak decks; identification numbers on the bow: K6749.
Then I was back in the dinghy, my finger’s freezing in the water. I snatched my hand out of the sea, tucked both hands between my legs and sat rigid as Jim pulled his dingy up to the stern of our boat. My father bid him goodbye with thanks as we boarded our vessel. Before my dad crossed the deck to the cabin I started ranting.
“Dad, our mooring line is going to break tonight and we’re going to hit a sailboat!”
“What are you talking about?” He stopped and turned to face me.
“I saw it. We’re going to smash into a sailboat at 3:30 in the morning. We have to move the boat now!”
“What do you mean, you ‘saw it?'”
I just stood there staring at him. I knew he wouldn’t believe me if I told him I had a vision. Hell, I didn’t believe me. But I knew what happened on that dinghy wasn’t a dream or fantasy. I knew I’d seen the future. I went back to proof by instance.
“Dad, our mooring line is going to break tonight and we’re going to hit a white sailboat with the call numbers K6749 if we don’t move the boat. So can we just move it, now please.”
Dad took the empirical position as always. “Do you see any white sailboats anywhere near us?”
By the moonlight the closest one I could see was a few rows up and far to the right. I couldn’t make out the call numbers, but I could see it had long narrow rectangular windows, not portholes. I shook my head.
“Okay. And hasn’t our boat been secured here all evening, the mooring clearly holding fast?”
“And even if our mooring did break, we’d have the front anchor to secure the boat from drifting, isn’t that right?”
“Yeah. I guess.” I started to doubt my vision with his compiling logic.
“Well, what I’m guessing is when Jim told us that the mooring lines in St. Catherine’s harbor broke last week with the Santa Ana’s, it scared you. Did you hear him say that all the moorings were replaced with new ones?”
No. I’d missed that part because I was inside my head living an alternate reality at the time. “No. I didn’t hear him say that.”
“It’s late, sweetie,” my dad said, going into the cabin. “Let’s get ready for bed.”
When I woke up in the middle of the night and the first thing I noticed was the digital clock turning from 3:30 to 3:31, I knew instantly that my earlier experience had not been a fantasy born of fear. I held my breath as I moved aside the curtain. I knew before actually seeing it that we were almost on top of a white sailboat. It had moored next to us while we slept.
Read the rest: http://jcafesin.blogspot.com/2011/01/future-out-of-time-ii.html