Chapter 1 – The Trip
As the early morning sky turned from a jet black to a brilliant pink, a random thought entered Landon’s head.
Pink sky at night, sailor’s delight. Pink sky in morning, sailor’s warning.
“Maybe we should hold off on this until next weekend,” said Landon.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” replied his best friend Jason. “Things couldn’t be more aligned for this trip.”
The two boys were embarking on a two-month sailing trip around Cape Breton Island. They had planned this trip for several months. It was almost surreal to Landon; it had finally arrived. He was sure they had planned for everything. They had enough food to get them through their first few legs of the trip; plus a few extra days, just in case. They had all their equipment either bought or rented to cover every scenario they could think of. It wasn’t like they were crossing the Atlantic Ocean. There would always be land close by if they ran into any trouble.
“Yeah, you’re absolutely right. Let’s do this,” Landon said, throwing his pack into the back of his dad’s truck with the rest of the supplies.
Landon and Jason had just finished school for the year. They figured it would be their last summer at home. The next summer would most likely be filled with work or moving for college. They had both pleaded with Landon’s father to let them take his boat for the summer on a trip around the island. Landon had been sailing with his father since before he could remember. Now that he was older, the two boys would regularly take the boat on day trips on the Bras d’Or lakes. But, they had never done anything of this magnitude before. After a few weeks of trying to convince his father, Landon and Jason managed to succeed. It was a mighty task; taking hours of detailed explanation and planning to prove they were ready. And, even after his father had said yes, he was there almost every step of the planning phase. He ensured there were no mistakes and everything was accounted for.
“Besides,” said Jason, “The first part of the trip is just the warm up anyways.”
He was referring to the first leg of their trip. They were planning on leaving from Bras d’Or. The boat was there, docked at the marina. They would head west down the lakes until Baddeck. From there, they would head east again. This time, north of Boularderie Island, under the Seal Island Bridge, and out onto the ocean. That would give them a day and a bit to get everything sorted out. Landon’s father would meet them at the bridge to make sure all was good before they headed out onto the Atlantic.
“Yeah, you’re right. Let’s get going.”
“I can’t believe we thought spending a few months on this little boat would be a good idea.”
“Yeah, right. What were we thinking?” Smirked Landon as he shot Jason a weird look. He knew Jason was kidding, but played along anyway.
The two of them actually loved being out on the little twenty-two-foot sailboat. There was nothing better than heeling the boat over 25 degrees with a nice strong wind. Trying to keep from chickening out and backing off was a challenge. The way the bow dropped into the waves, spraying salt water up in a fine mist was always refreshing. The crack of the head sail as it filled with the wind on a quick tack, sending the boat racing forward was the best of all. It was truly going to be the best summer ever.
They had just finished the meet-up with Landon’s father at the Seal Island bridge. Everything had gone well the day before and the boat was well shaken out. All the gear was generally put into place now. The two boys were getting into a good groove; knowing what to do together to get the fastest speed out of the boat. If Landon was steering, Jason would man the sheets and the two would work in perfect unison for every tack and jib. They had gotten a lot of practice together over the years and had a good feel for the boat.
“I can’t believe we are finally heading out onto the ocean with this thing,” Landon said. Hitting the ‘auto’ button on the auto tiller, he stood up and stretched. “This is going to be some adventure.”
“You can say that again,” replied Jason from inside the cabin. He was busy frying up some grilled cheese sandwiches on the little butane stove they had on the boat. “I can’t wait to get this thing going in the swells.”
You could never get any big waves on the lakes. Sure, it got rough, but it didn’t compare to the real ocean swell. They made their way out the mouth of the lakes and into the Atlantic. Landon spotted a giant whale breaching about a kilometer out.
I’ll take that as a good sign, he thought as he took back control from the auto tiller. He pointed the boat north, up the coast. This is going to be a trip of a lifetime.
Little did he know, he couldn’t be more right.