Baba Takes Me Across The Ocean
Only those who love sailing, who have braved the elements will understand Mary McKay’s fear as her yacht is buffeted in a storm. She places complete faith in Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, for has He not said, "Take refuge in the Almighty. Surrender yourself entirely to him and you will gain inexhaustible strength. Feel always that you are in His hands and therefore always safe."
On May 29th 1994 my husband and I set out with a friend and his wife on their yacht in the Auckland to Tonga yacht race. Before sailing I sprinkled vibhuti all around the hull, and some outside on the waters.
On June 2nd the wind changed to the northeast. By the next day the wind speed indicator would be pushed over as far as it could go and we knew that the wind was a lot more than 60 knots.
The sea was huge, the waves had big breaking tops on them and the wind was blowing the spume of the tops horizontally. I felt we were in a big huge washing machine, and the air was filled with white water and noise, endless wind noise. The yacht had only one sail up, the size of a pocket handkerchief up forward, and the rudder was lashed to keep the boat pointing up wind.
The watch system we had was two hours on and four hours off. We only had three people able to stand watch as one was seasick.
We were all praying. My husband has been a seaman most of his life, but he had never been in such bad weather before.
Around midnight it was my turn to go on watch, I crawled out of my bunk and was flung to the floor, so I sat there and pulled on my wet weather gear, hat and gloves. The rule was we had to have our lifeline harness already on before we got out into the cockpit in case we were swept overboard. I stood at the foot of the cockpit stairs and froze, I just couldn’t face going out there, I was so scared, I burst out crying, I couldn’t face the noise, the dark, the wind, the rain, the huge waves and I couldn’t keep to my feet as the movement was so sharp.
I called out to my husband, who was on watch, that I was too scared to take my turn. He was very brisk with me and told me to wake the other crewman to take my place.
I crawled back into my bunk, feeling miserable. I lay there crying, letting the tears come up from the bottom of my being. Up to this point I had been praying to Baba in a general way. But lying in my bunk full of fear I desperately cried out to him for help.
I suddenly felt an inner calm... I snuggled up on Sai Baba’s lap with His hand patting my head saying "I am always with you"...
Then somebody woke me up from my beautiful dream. As I scrambled out of the bunk, to stand my watch, I realised I felt totally calm. The storm was still raging (and would do so for the next three days), but my inner being felt full of light and love totally protected. I realised all I had to do was get on with the usual routine — stand watches, cook, eat, look after my body, constantly check the boat and leave the rest to Sai Baba.
After nine days at sea we finally reached Tonga. The wind had abated to 30 knots and the seas were calmer, but the waves were still very big. We were all very thankful to reach shore.
On reflection, my awareness that I am one with Sai Baba grows even stronger in my heart every day. The image of snuggling up on his knee like a small child sends thrills of delight. Baba had given me the strength to realise my own God-self within, through the lovely dream.
Paihia, Bay of Island