In a surprise attack on a sunny afternoon a pod of marauding dolphins descended on the unsuspecting and peacefully sailing ketch Kalunamoo. It was feared that what started out as a pleasant sail could end up as horrific incident on the high seas. This occurred as the ketch with only its captain and first mate aboard sailed to the small island of Bequia off the coast of St. Vincent. This Windward Island, in the southern part of the Lesser Antilles has a long history of attacks. But even in today’s world, with all the modern navigation and communication capabilities, they still occur and fill the need to provide content for the 24/7 news cycle, not to mention the commitment to write blogs.
Early reports indicated that the ketch was surrounded by these mammalian marauders, menacing the startled crew into action that cannot be described as anything other than controlled confusion. “We were startled by the sheer audacity” reports the captain of the ketch. He reported that the first inkling that there was something amiss was the odd sighting of breaking waves off to the boat’s starboard side. In the distance, the captain explained, were “white caps” where none should have been. The wind was from the direct opposite side of the boat! “That is not normal”.
As the breaking waves moved ominously closer, the crew’s adrenaline rose to dizzying heights. Soon the first hints of what was happening appeared. Dark forms with fins piecing the surface of the water came ever closer. Lancers forcefully puncturing the interface between the bright blue sky and the deep depths of the watery abyss below, burst out from the boiling sea. These creatures, which up to this point could only be imagined, did not present themselves at first. They stealthily maneuvered closer and closer to the fast-moving boat. The hull, sensing the danger that might lurk beneath the waves, instinctively reacted to move quickly away. The sails strained to capture every bit of wind while the sheets heroically pulled the boat forward with increasing speed. But all to no avail. The boat was surrounded, there would be no escape. The creatures, seemingly pleased with the swiftness that they overtook their prey, leaped out of the abyss in a show of force. Splashing and twisting in the joy of their conquest, theirs was a dance of triumph. Was there a smile of delight that was noted as they taunted the ketch and her crew? Mocking the bow wave of the fast-moving ketch by “surfing” to their endless delight, other marauders circled and back tracked, for another run at their prey.
By this time the captain had enough wits about him to try and document the attack. “Maybe justice will be served” as verbal accounts always end up as “he said, she said”. The documentation could serve mankind well as the last remnants of an attack at sea. Or it could end up in a dusty corner of some obscure legal department’s sub-basement vault never to be seen again. But time was of the essence. The marauders would not stay long after their conquest and so photo documentation was needed quickly.
As it happened, the ubiquitous camera was down inside the dark cabin. Moving quickly in a rolling boat is not recommended by any seasoned sailor. Nonetheless, the captain did the necessary footwork and emerged from below with camera in hand. Documentation would be obtained only as the last of the marauders left the scene. Grainy photos that could be analyzed of some splashes, some fins but nothing of the drama that took place.
“There off for another conquest”, said the captain as they vanished into the abyss. Left staring at the sea’s endless rolling undulations, the ketch sailed on. Looking over his shoulder, with an eye toward the horizon for more unusual breaking waves, he only wondered what else lurked in the deep abyss of that dark and mysterious sea. “We only sail on the surface, but our imaginations are deep and oh, how they haunt us so.”
What could have turned out to be a very bad nightmare for those who sail at sea, this incident only reminds us that Breaking News is not something we can ignore. Whenever Breaking News occurs, usually about every five minutes or so, we must give thanks for the good fortune that it does not befall us. But if it does, make sure you document it well.