What are Ozlandish Writings?

From July 2010 to December 2014 we ran OZLAND PICTURE STORIES as described below. Sadly though the number of writers reduced over the years and we decided to call it a day. We leave these as a record of the good times we had.

Are "You" ready to challenge your writing skills? Then participate in our OZLAND Picture Stories writing series at The Ozland Art Gallery.

Each month a new picture will be picked, from our OZLAND Artist of the Month collection, with different themes. Your goal is to write a 500-1000 word... poem... essay... or story about the picture picked. This is a chance for you to challenge your writing skills each month. Story can be written in ANY genre... sci fi... romance... ghost... fantasy... fiction... non-fiction... biography... mystery... historical... whatever your writing genre... feel free to experiment. Send your writing inworld to Sven Pertelson as a notecard to have it included on the web site. We meet at the The Ozland Art Gallery each Wednesday at Noon and 6pm SLT to read the latest submissions on voice. More Information

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Staring at the sea - Part 3 - By Sven Pertelson

This was the kind of blue water, open ocean sailing that Rob had dreamed of. A gentle swell faded into the distance, steady winds, blue skies and warm sun. First chore of the day was to collect flying fish that had collided with the sails overnight. Gutted and de-scaled they went into the frying pan for breakfast. Drain a little fresh water out of the solar still on the foredeck and make coffee and watch his straight line wake dissapear behind him. Life was good,

For diversion during the day he could watch the dolphins surfing his bow wave and throw them left over fish. Then use the rest of the fish for bait to string a hand line of hooks astern. The dolphins seemed to know that that was not for them. However the mullet and mackerel knew no better, neither did the occasional shark that grabbed fish off his line and one very large manta ray that had almost stopped the boat before the line broke. Rob's supply of herbs and spices stopped the fishy diet getting too monotonous but even so he did vary things everyday with some of his dwindling supply of tinned goods. That was the main reason he was looking forward to making port again, that and some more cans of beer.

He was about two days sailing from the nearest of the Seychelles islands, Aldabra Atoll, when the music from his radio stopped. He checked the batteries, the antenna and even the speaker, the lights came on but no sound at all. Rob was not too worried. Once he sighted the atoll he would be able to check his navigation and then make for one of the inhabited islands and pick up another radio and any weather reports within a day.

The sudden thunderstorm in the middle of the night woke him from his nap. The sea was getting choppy and the wind was getting up and backing That was the sign of an approaching cold front and even worse weather. Time to reef his sails and choose a course that would take him away from any shoals or islands. This was going to be tricky. It was safest to run before the wind to avoid burying the bow into breaking waves, but that would take straight towards shallow waters. If he made his course more to the south he could avoid those dangers but might run right past the Seychelles and have to work his way back to them against the prevailing winds. He had enough supplies , so south it was.

By the second day of the storm he was running with the wind again, it was too dangerous to do anything else. His only sail was the smallest storm jib he could find reefed as much as he could just to keep his stern to the waves, he had also dangled a canvas sea anchor over the stern to help The fore and aft pitching of the boat had started to make him sea sick. It was like riding a badly made rocking horse. The lack of sleep and having to work the hand bilge pump constanlty had sapped his strength tremendously. The third day was hardly distinguishable from the night, the clouds were so dark and rain and spray meant he could hardly see the bow from the cockpit. Then the winds got even stronger. Rob battened down the cabin door to keep out the water and lashed himself to the tiller. He dare not stand up or move about, if he did he would be washed overboard.

Between the constant fury of the wind and sea, fatigue and sea-sickness Rob lost track of time. It was just about surviving now. He thought he could hear voices in the wind, taunting him, saying what a fool he was and he saw faces and shapes in the white caps of the waves as they broke around him. Human faces and torsos with fishes tails sported in the broken water around the battered boat.

With a rending crash the mast had broken and Rob's boat turned beam onto the waves and capsized. Still lashed to the tiller Rob had seen the water close over him and given up. This was the end.

Then hands were plucking at the ropes and knots that bound him and scaly tails pushed him this way and that. He was free of the boat and his head broken above the waves to see the stern of 'This Way Up' rapidly drifting away. Strong arms held him above the water and he passed out.

Rob poked among the wreckage of his boat on the shore, drying now in the clearing skies. Had he been rescued by mer-people?. Could he find any evidence or was it all in his mind? Then on a piece of the hull he saw among the random paint splashes a piece of scaly skin torn from one of his rescuers.

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