Fukuoka Bound - exerpt from the novel - El Nido

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The ferry made its way out of a bustling Busan Bay on that bright Monday morning. As they passed through the heads, the waves had already begun to get bigger. Nev raised his eye brows to see if Yuki was bothered.

“You would expect the waves to get bigger as we go, wouldn’t you?” she said.

Yuki whispered that most of the Korean tourists were off on a once in a lifetime trip. They watched as many of them ate, drank and laughed voraciously. They were devouring pork filled buns, bundles of sticky rice and biscuits while drinking copious amounts of wicked Korean soju.

The Japanese staff were polite and friendly in their own detached way. Once all the tickets had been checked, they sat fully upright in the staff chairs, gazing past the faces of the passengers, towards the bow, with soft eyes.

Upon reaching the open sea, it started. People began vomiting here and there. Some people tried not to vomit anywhere and ended up vomiting everywhere! It was comical, embarrassing and, because the scene was exacerbated by the increasingly rougher seas, a little scary. As the waves continued to get bigger, all but the stoic staff were looking worried.

Later, the wind decided to join in, becoming very strong. The dingy outside Yuki and Nev’s window flailed about like a poorly designed kite. Nev wondered if they had not turned back for the simple reason that they were already more than half way to Japan. Perhaps other passengers were wondering why they hadn’t learnt to swim.

“Nev,” said Yuki, “are we going to be okay?” as her trembling hand squeezed his. He put his other arm around her, something she had never let him do in public before. His girlfriend was shaking all over. It was stifling inside the air-tight compartment and the smell of vomit added to the growing sense of suffocation.

“We’ll be fine,” he replied in the most convincing voice he could muster. Though Yuki noticed fear in Nev’s voice, she felt a little better.

Years of fishing off Sydney’s beaches had taught him one thing about rough seas. Don’t panic! Save your energy... you may well need it. Just the same, the butterflies in his stomach were doing overtime. The waves continued to grow as the wind howled more vehemently.

The boat was lurching and diving as it tried to battle its way through the waves. As soon as it cleared the crest of one wave, it jagged down its back into a deep trough. It would bottom out with a jarring thud before lurching towards the crest of the next wave. These mountains of water kept getting bigger and the depressions between them deeper.

Eventually, even the staff gave up and unveiled their true feelings: their faces conveying absolute terror as they clenched the end of the arm rests with all their might. Their already white knuckles became even whiter! They had already passed the islands the Japanese and the Koreans squabbled over and nobody gave them so much as a cursory glance.

Amazingly, the storm died down about twenty minutes away from Fukuoka! All the people on board were obviously relieved and no doubt a few people who weren’t on board were too! The coast guard would have been alerted by the Captain but Yuki told Nev that she’d lost phone reception soon after leaving Korea. None of the passengers could have alerted their relatives that they were in trouble.

Yuki’s aunty and uncle, who travelled often, would feel just a little outdone when she told them about the ferry trip. They only lived a few doors away from her parent’s house in Nakasu.

While she hadn’t matched them in the number of overseas trips they’d taken, and probably never would, the idea that her trips turned out to be more adventurous would not be lost upon them or the rest of her extended family.


This book is available here: http://www.amazon.com.au/El-Nido-Peter-D-Towney-ebook/dp/B00CH2J15O





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