The Ghost Boat of Raiatea

The black ripples reflected yellow rivulets of moonbeam from the half crescent above. The clear night sky displayed the sort of moon that would automatically bring to mind a ghost story of some Halloween night. Framed by this light was one lone, massive ship, swinging back and forth to either side of the moon, adding to the mood. And there sat four of us, late at night, gazing.

“I haven’t been able to get that boat out of my mind…” Our mom whispered. “That poor abandoned boat… And the dreams that were once attached to it… What do you think happened to make what once was a splendid yacht into that sad, disintegrating pile of rubbish?”

“How do you know it’s abandoned?” Jaeden inquired. “I think I just saw a light from inside.”

“I saw it too!” Dailin murmured. “There must be someone there.”

“That was the moon reflecting off the window.” I smirked. “It’s a wreck. There can’t possibly be anyone living on it.” So there we sat, gazing at this dump, arguing over whether or not someone was living on it.

“Maybe the light is from a ghost.” Dailin’s voice sounded hollow.

“You should go check it out guys.” Mom reasoned. “What if some poor old lady on that boat, died last week and no one knew about her or checked on her? You would be doing her a service.” Dares and challenges ensued, trying to goad the other into boarding the rusty vessel.

“Mom, you seriously are obsessed with that ghost boat.” Jaeden concluded. “We should go to bed.” The four of us stepped out of the cockpit and into the galley, when we heard the sound of a motor close by! Eyes darting around I realized that Jaeden wasn’t with us!

“He’s in the dinghy!” I exclaimed. “He’s going to the ghost boat!”

“What?! Seriously?” Mom actually sounded alarmed. We waited in silence as the seconds ticked by. We held our breaths as we saw the Jaeden pull up to the ship, step onto it, and then jump back in and come home. “You are crazy.” Mom halfheartedly scolded Jaeden. But there was a noticeable shiver and she tore her eyes away from the subject of her mind’s torment.

The next night, gusting winds herded the clouds to blot out any celestial light. The bay seemed blank and empty, until I shone a high powered flashlight over the water. The ghostly yacht seemed to appear out of thin air as the beam lit up a seemingly empty patch of lagoon. I pulled Dailin aside after ensuring our mom was busy putting the baby to bed and our dad reading in the next room to the kids.

“Let’s do it.” I whispered.

“It? As in the ghost boat?” He grinned after seeing me nod, and pulled Jaeden aside to pass on the plan. Just as we were boarding the dinghy, however, Orin ran out, demanding to know what we were up to. When he realized where we were headed, he leaped into the vessel and refused to come out. So we threatened to take him in the first load and have Dailin leave him there while he came back for Jaeden and I. We were desperate to leave by this time, as Eli and Dad were drowsily making their way outside to see what was going on. Orin agreed to Dailin’s conditions, and was brought to the decomposing rig and left there alone. Apparently, though, time passes much slower on a haunted monohaul, than in real life. By the time we arrived, Orin was beside himself and certain that what had been five minute to us, was truly half an hour. We all boarded, ignoring the “Private Property” sign hanging crookedly to the bow, and crept up to the front. The wind howled, and the sound of a low moan traveled through the the rigging.

“The sails are all that’s left besides a shell. This thing looks totally gutted out.” Mused Dailin. Shining a flashlight into one of the locked hatches, Orin gasped. We all scrambled over to see what had caused his reaction, and saw piles of wood, metal and rusty toilets. Random tapping and creaking noises frequented our wreck, sending chills up our spines. Trying every hatch and door, we finally had to accept that there was absolutely no way inside. But as we motored back to our own catamaran, we all could have sworn we saw a silhouette of an old man leaning over the foredeck…

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Great stage for a spooky play performance by Orin as Kaspar the shivering ghost!

  2. OH, Lyssie, remind me not to be with you on a camping trip where people tell ghost stories at night – you’re far too skilled. I enjoy your writing tremendously. You had some great figures of speech and imagery. I could just picture the winds “herding” the clouds. I thought you were all very brave to board that derelict boat.

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