Tangled Moon heeled slightly to the gentle northwest breeze. A low patchy fog obscured smaller islands but taller peaks still poked above the mist. Chandler Gray sat on the bow, wearing a life vest and hanging on to the bow rail. He was five. His job was to watch for logs.
Chan leaped to his feet and waved his arms.
“A log! A big log!” he cried out.
At the helm, Cindy spotted the log. It was more of a tree, with roots and branches. She didn’t change course since it was well off to starboard. As she was about to tell Chan it was okay, one of the branches waved. It was a pale human arm. Someone was clinging to the log. Cindy altered course toward it and called Sean up from below.
Sean was on deck in seconds. Leaving Cindy at the helm, he went forward, scooped up Chan, and carried him back to the cockpit.
As they approached the log, a small woman with long black hair streaming behind her was seen clinging on with her legs dangling in the water. She was naked in the frigid water of Caamaño Sound.
Cindy let the sails fly to slow the approach. Sean ran below and came out with a big towel. As they came alongside, Sean reached out a hand to the woman. She said something in a language he didn’t understand. He grasped her hand, then leaned over and picked her up under the arms, lifting her aboard like a child.
Chan’s eyes were goggling as his father wrapped the naked woman in a towel and carried her aft. She collapsed in Sean’s arms as he helped her below and gently lay her on the settee. Then he went out to the cockpit.
“Cindy, I’ll take over out here. You go below and warm her up. Get some tea into her. See if you can find out what happened.”
“Sean, be quiet. I know what to do. Find us an anchorage.”
That area of the BC coast was a maze of islands, inlets, and channels. Many possible anchorages were available, and Sean chose the nearest, an unnamed nook on the south end of Princess Royal Island. He marked the chart with the approximate location where the woman was found.
After an hour or so, Chan took the wheel. His father dropped the anchor in the middle of the small bay. There were no other boats, and the only sign of life was an eagle soaring in circles above the tall fir trees lining the rocky shore. Moss clung to the limbs overhanging the sea.
Once secure, Sean and his son went below.
Cindy introduced the young woman, who was now wearing a pair of Cindy’s jeans and a thick sweater. She smiled wanly.
“Sean, this is Minh Ha. She’s Vietnamese and doesn’t speak English. I think she fell off a ship. I tried to find out more, but the only phrase she kept repeating is bai dangles.”
Sean said, “let’s try writing it.”
He got a notepad from the chart table, wrote BAI DANGLES in block letters, and showed it to Minh. She took the pencil and scratched out BAY OF ANGELS in shaky block letters.