In the Works:

Lost on the Raincoast
an 18th Century Adventure

Synopsis:

In 1793 a young English sail­or and First Nation youth are thrown togeth­er in a col­li­sion of cul­tures that includes slavery, murder and super­nat­ur­al beings.

Fleeing for their lives in a dar­ing jour­ney down the West Coast of British Columbia, they find their cour­age and beliefs tested in ways neither ever ima­gined. Survival depends on work­ing togeth­er but can they over­come their cul­tur­al dif­fer­ences, pre­ju­dices and lack of a com­mon lan­guage?

Excerpt from Chapter 3: Kidnapped

Suddenly the sea was boil­ing. It felt like the long­boat had been tossed into a giant cauldron of water with huge bubbles break­ing the sur­face as far as the eye could see. I must be dream­ing, John thought, rub­bing his face.

After last night any­thing was pos­sible. But no, Lieutenant Puget was shout­ing and the 12 sail­ors were lean­ing into the oars in an effort to stop the boat from being thrown first one way and then the oth­er.

Lay out on your oars!” Puget yelled from his pos­i­tion at the stern of the craft just behind John.

One minute the water was like glass, shiny, slick and smooth; the next it was heav­ing up and down like a mon­strous creature breath­ing deeply. Now, as the long­boat roun­ded a small out­crop­ping, it was caught in a power­ful tid­al cur­rent fun­nel­ing through a nar­row chan­nel.

Choppy waves battered the boat as John watched the butt end of a massive tree rush by, its tangled roots close enough to touch. Ahead, a whirl­pool yawned like a giant throat wait­ing to swal­low everything that ven­tured too close.

Pull to star­board! Pull to star­board!” Puget ordered. The sailor’s muscles strained against their lin­en shirts as they struggled to bring the boat about.

John stared in hor­ri­fied fas­cin­a­tion as the tree that had just passed them was sucked into the gap­ing vor­tex and dis­ap­peared from sight. A second later it shot up out of the water with the force of a can­non ball, nar­rowly miss­ing the hull of the long­boat and spray­ing water on every­one in it.

For God’s sake, pull! Pull for all you’re worth!” Puget bel­lowed as they teetered at the edge of the swirl­ing water. Despite the sailor’s best efforts, the ves­sel drif­ted side­ways towards the largest whirl­pool John had ever seen. He figured it was at least 50-feet across, more than twice the length of the boat.

Starboard! Starboard!” Puget urged over and over. As the stern slid towards the mael­strom John caught his breath at the sight of the 20-foot deep hole before him. He knew if they entered that white hell, no man would sur­vive.

The long­boat hovered on the lip of the whirl­pool. John felt Puget’s warm breath on his face as they both leaned for­ward, away from cer­tain death. “Row your hearts out!” the lieu­ten­ant roared.

John clutched the side of the boat as it sud­denly veered sharply to the right break­ing free from the cir­cu­lar motion. “We did it! We did it!” he cried shoot­ing Peter Puget an admir­ing glance.

But now the strong cur­rent was pro­pelling them towards an enorm­ous boulder in the middle of the chan­nel. The water broke against the stone island then cas­caded around it in a froth of churn­ing foam.

Puget hollered an order and John watched the shoulder and arm muscles of the sail­or in front of him bulge with exer­tion. Splattered against the gray of the rock John saw a white streak of dried bird dung and a net­work of cracks where a few strag­gly bushes clung to life. They were mov­ing too fast, there was no way to avoid the stone wall in front of them.

Prepare for impact!” Puget called out. John braced him­self, there was a load crack and the boat bounced away from the boulder. At the last moment Able Seaman Peterson had half stood and used his oar to take the brunt of the col­li­sion. The oar had snapped in two cata­pult­ing Peterson over the side of the boat.

Man over­board!” someone yelled.

Man the oars!” Puget shouted. “Right about!”

As they raced down the chute of water between the island and main­land, Peterson was swept ahead of them. “Over here! Over here!” he hollered, his arms thrash­ing in the water.

Come on men, you can do it,” Puget bel­lowed. Little by little the boat gained on Peterson. “Come on lads! Come on!” Puget yelled, “Get your mate!”

As they approached Peterson, one of the sail­ors stretched out his oar, “Come on Petey! Grab a hold!”

Peterson’s huge hands wrapped around the piece of wood and clenched tight. He was a big man and it took two of the sail­ors to hold the oth­er end. Down the chan­nel the boat sped trail­ing Peterson along­side like a giant, red-faced fish. His head bobbed up and down in the water but his meaty hands nev­er loosened their grip.

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