They had been sailing for nearly two hours when Sally pushed Tom aside and took control of the steering wheel. He fell back, gasping. How could this happen? He shook his head. Maybe he deserved it for letting a stranger board his boat. Desperately, he tried to pry Sally’s fingers off the wheel, but she was resolute. She would see the mermaids no matter the cost. She would not take no for an answer. Tom sat back down and closed his eyes, praying they would get through the storm safely.
For someone who had never been on a boat before, Sally wasn’t a bad driver. She kept one eye on the ocean, and the other on Tom, asking about how the boat was built and where she could find the best marine fabrication services close to Melbourne. She explained that all she had ever wanted to do was find a mermaid, and if this trip was successful she would build an entire fleet of ships and catch as many as she could. It was her life’s mission, she said. Tom wilted. This woman was crazy.
They were sailing over a particularly large wave when lightning struck. It hit the edge of the boat and set the wood on fire. Fishing supplies spilled over the edge and sunk to the ocean floor, and Tom’s hat flew off his head. As Sally worked to quell the fire, Tom looked around wildly, assessing the damage. The stainless steel was fine. The custom rudder was still working. Luckily, the quality boat latch was also still intact. He’d had it installed a little while ago, and he wouldn’t be able to launch or retrieve his boat without it. Steadying his breathing, he silently thanked the marine store for their flawless installation. With a sigh, Tom took control of the wheel again and steered the boat back to shore. He would have to leave it in its trailer for a while until he could find a skilled worker to ensure it was safe to ride again.