I submitted my University of California Applications two hours ago. My last final is in under two weeks. I’m quickly running out of excuses to continue and finish writing my Mexico story. Here’s a quick preview of one of my chapters. This essay is, coincidentally, my response to the second question for UC Personal Statements. I felt it was appropriate (and I don’t mind) sharing it.
The Night of Terror, the captain calls it. The oceanwaves rose eight feet high and winds blew at 30 knots. At 9:00pm on July 8, 2010, and 14 miles off the coast of Baja California, smoke from the engine filled the entire lower deck of the sailboat.
Five hours later, the 72 year old captain and I collapsed onto the galley couch. Amidst slightly torn sails, a completely destroyed binnacle (includes the gear shift, throttle, compass, and table), losing a spare fuel can, and working one man short, we expended the remainder of our energy laughing as the boat traveled once again at normal speeds.
This event occurred on our first night out at sea, and has set the benchmark as the most adventurous and thrilling time of my life. While the third crewmember fell unconscious, I was able to obey the captain’s every order because I was impervious to seasickness. From lassoing the loose boom, securing it to the wenches, re-raising the sails, controlling the steering wheel, and repairing the engine, the two of us worked relentlessly together to prevent the boat from capsizing. Our mutual cooperation – his knowledge of the situation and my helping hands – was the ultimate cause and effect of the boat’s salvation. Pacifico, the name of the boat, has since then been fully repaired.
My twelve day adventure in Mexico, especially “The Night of Terror,” tremendously helped in shaping me into the person I am today. Rather than dwelling on so many endless possibilities of that evening, I’m simply grateful for Captain Graham’s resilience, authority, and ingenuity in commanding me to be a perfectly sane and functioning sailor. Ever since the trip, my perception of the world has substantially changed. Instead of fearing the ocean waters, I’ve acquired newfound love and respect for Mother Nature. Moreover, I am more inclined to accept the externalities and instabilities of life; it is, without reserve, a waste of time worrying about things outside my immediate control.
In remembrance of my adventure, I’ve been writing a short novel that culminates the entire summer experience. “Sailing Pacifico” will deeply convey my emotions down into words. My memories on the oceans of Mexico will forever be regarded as the final chapter of my teenage years.