We'd made better time under sail than I'd dared to hope, the rationing of the supplies had kept us more than well stocked. Strong southerly winds had carried us toward our direction with ease, and although we were still barely a third of the way to Brisbane, spirits were high.
We pulled seawater onto the deck, and heated it through a solar-powered system for warm showers and to clean our dirt and salt stained clothes. It proved an altogether paradise after the horrors the land had held. Clean, and safe, we recovered as best we could. Injuries were cleaned and bound and otherwise treated. Emotions were let out and dealt with. Our bruises began to fade and the stings of our cuts began to ebb.
My rib still caused me trouble, especially when I would lay down to sleep, and I spent hours belowdecks, with clenched teeth to push through the agony, cleaning and rebinding the burns that covered my forearms from Tyler's exploding car. The skin was a mess of some aged and more popped blisters and scar tissue, and on the skin between scars the red had dulled down to an angry rich pink. But when I was done, and the burns were rebound I felt better for it, and every night since then I removed the bandages with sunset, in order to let to burn breathe.
My days were spent lazing about the ship, or on the relaxed and open bridge of the leisure ship. I was spending more and more time with Lewis, guiding through navigation and just talking. It was strangling nostalgic and reminiscent of days before all this madness. I was enjoying his company more and more and missing the days when we'd been inseparable.
The storm front appeared on the horizon before long, followed by a dramatic loss of our friendly southerly winds, the birds overhead and the few who'd made rest on our humble vessel had been taking flight and heading back to shore since it made it's appearance.
I passed John and Harry with a few words, and headed back to the bridge. Lewis was at the wheel, lazily keeping in line with the compass and nervously eyeing the ever growing storm to our Northeast.
I looked quickly at the map, checked our GPS coordinates and lined us up with the outcrop just off the port bow. "Port Kembla." I said to Lewis, tapping on the map. "Wollongong."
He nodded quickly, "..and wait out that over there?" he asked.
"Too right brother."
We'd barely made it halfway to the port when the storm engulfed us. I'd taken the wheel, and most of the group were sheltering belowdecks. Harry was on the deck, working on the ropes, with Lewis and John close behind him.
The maelstrom of winds made it near impossible to sail straight into the harbour, and the rage of waves made turning near impossible, but it had to be done. I screamed, and waved and motioned as to my plan.
Timing the swing with the rise of one of the waves, the ship broke the crest and fell with a stomach-lurching drop. The wind snapped our sails around, and tore control from my slipping fingertips. A following wave smashed across our side and threw us like toys over the deck.
Wave after wave assaulted us, until eventually of its own accord and a mix of luck the ship spun to ride the wave up, up and up until eventually dropping us again, this time with a bone sickening crush down of the dark wet stones of the shore.