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Stormy seas

Stormy seas
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I was on holiday with my husband in Fiji and we always knew we didn’t want to fly back home – we wanted to sail. So, luckily, we found – through an internet site – a nice experienced captain willing to take on two novice sailors.

Our radio wasn’t working on the way out but we never guessed that would be a problem.

About seven days into the 14-day trip we hit a storm (– which could have been avoided had the radio been working.

After two days of travelling in a steep 45-degree slant, over huge waves, the three of us were all suddenly flung through the air and water started gushing into the boat.

Shocked, we picked ourselves up and I ran for the lifeboats. The captain had a bleeding head wound and seemed dazed. Luckily, the boat wasn’t sinking but we had a serious moment when we thought we were going to die. Instead, the water had been rushing through an unsecured porthole on the roof.

The roof?!

We had capsized right over, then popped up the right way again. The mast was broken, the diesel had all spilled out, everything was soaking wet.

We called for help on the long-range walkie talkies and luckily had a response, before – just like in the movies – the walkie talkies stopped working due to water damage!

We floated on the water in the storm with no mast and no way to steer for 26 hours before being rescued by an Indonesian fishing ship. – Caitlin Lester, Otago New Zealand

Want to read another true story of a fishing trip that turned into a matter of life and death?

All I want for Christmas is a dentist

All I want for Christmas is a dentist
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My husband and I were travelling to Perth, Western Australia, for a week-long vacation. Just two days before heading off, I developed a bad toothache so went to the dentist to get it treated. However, during my flight to Perth, the toothache returned.

When we reached Perth, we checked in to our holiday rental in Fremantle. The house was so eerie that it spooked us to the extent that we booked another room in the Perth CBD catching an Uber down late at night.

The house had a beach painting with three girls staring at you eerily and the house had certain noises that got us uncomfortable.

After moving to the Perth CBD area, my toothache got really bad the next day – which was Christmas Day!

I had to search high and low for a dental clinic, open on a Christmas Day, after 6pm. – Elena Woo, Singapore

(Not all forms of toothache require a trip to the dentist though. Especially if you’ve got one of these weird symptoms.)

Next stop, Paris – we hope?

Next stop, Paris – we hope?
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My family and I once caught a plane thinking we were going to Paris, France.

Shockingly, when we arrived we had landed in Paris, Kentucky.

Long story short, we did get to France in the end, after booking more flights but our trip was delayed. – Jessica Bibby, Napier New Zealand

(If only Jessica had asked the airline exactly which Paris they were headed for, they would have told her. But here’s 13 things they definitely WON’T have told her.)

Freed by a motorcycle gang

Freed by a motorcycle gang
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It was Christmas Eve 1995 when I was travelling down the Princess Highway out of Melbourne, Victoria, heading for the family holiday resort on the Peninsula in my new car.

As I was approaching Geelong, a big kangaroo popped out of nowhere and hit my new car – and it rolled over and into a ditch.

Quite stunned at what had just happened, hanging upside-down in my car seat, I looked outside and noticed the feet of a whole group of people trying to get me out. I was finally released by members of the Hells Angels, one of whom just happened to be a doctor.

He checked me out; I was OK and they put me on the back of one of the member’s motorbikes and took me to my final destination and that was the best Christmas I have ever had. – Slade Yuille, Point Cook Victoria

(Now that is a surprising act of kindness. Want to hear more? Get a box of tissues handy.)

A haunting experience

A haunting experience
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I once travelled to Florence, Italy, with my family. We were six people altogether, and rented an apartment that looked amazing in the photos posted online – but when we entered, it looked like the rooms from The Conjuring. To this day I think it was haunted.

There were weird pictures of angels on the wall, the cupboards looked spooky, the beds were really bad and the doors made creaking sounds to make the experience even more haunted.

Somehow, we put up with that disaster but of course another one came our way. We had to rent a car to tour Europe but when we entered the rental shop, the lady looked at us in a weird way – then rejected our request.

We asked why, then she told us our license was expired and we couldn’t rent a car.

Despite all these disasters, we still had fun on this trip. Some disasters can be funny. – Saad Khan, Karachi Pakistan

(Are you a believer? You might be after you read these five chilling real ghost stories.)

Full marks for having a go

Full marks for having a go
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We were on a family holiday on the Gold Coast and had gone to a water park for the day. I thought the lazy river looked just my style but, being a rather large lady, I was a bit worried about getting in and out of the rubber ring tube you float around on.

With my family egging me on, I tried as gracefully as I could to climb into it.

I sat down, did a huge, full backwards flip with the rubber tube making a very loud noise – which sounded like it came from me – and surfaced to find not only my family but a big line-up of people waiting to go on the tubes laughing hysterically.

Determined not to be beaten by that damn tube I soldiered on – and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Faye Cruickshank, Ballajura Western Australia

(A perfect example of the power of positivity. Here’s how to cultivate that amazing mindset and make the most of your life.)

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Lost in transit

Lost in transit
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I was the lucky winner of an amazing trip for two on the Mississippi Queen paddle steamer, including travel expenses.

We had a night in Los Angeles before flying to New Orleans. With our flight departure time getting closer, I decided a trip to the toilet was be a good idea.

In my haste to get back to the gate, I became completely disoriented and somehow managed to hurry back in the wrong direction.

Eventually in the distance I saw my harassed husband and an attendant. We were the last two very embarrassed people to board the plane.

In hindsight I realised that the entrance to the toilets was a semicircle and I had gone out the opposite side to the one I entered.

What a relief they waited for me and what a wonderful experience we nearly missed – Pamela Innes, Peachester Queensland

(Being late for a flight is one thing. But what if you’re asked to leave the plane after you’ve already boarded? You better know your rights.)

Char-grilling gone wrong

Char-grilling gone wrong
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“Holiday Disaster” is having your grandmother mistake gasoline for water, then use it to put out the fire while working on the barbecues.

And that’s the tale of how the meat tasted like gasoline. – John Paolo Ramirez, Caloocan City Philippines

(Come on, Grandma: it’s not that complicated.)

Too embarrassed for words

Too embarrassed for words
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To celebrate our second wedding anniversary, my hubby and I decided to splash out on a night at the Hilton in Taupo, New Zealand. All went well, although we didn’t blend in as much as the other guests, with our beat-up Toyota Corolla and my husband’s idea of dressing up: his favourite soccer team shirt and ripped shorts.

We had a great time visiting the tourist hot spots and relaxing. Then tragedy struck our dear old “crudrolla”; a guy towing a flash boat with his late model 4WD ute smashed our driver’s door and shattered the window. The door wouldn’t close, so we had to tie it shut with rope.

Sheepishly pulling back into the Hilton, we parked next to two new Bugatti sports cars worth more than our first home.

Then, to make matters worse, on check-out the concierge offered to bring the car around. “No, absolutely not!” I replied, as my husband handed over the keys, laughing.

Next thing you know, our big-exhaust, tinted-window, boy-racer-looking, broken runabout with no driver-side window and broken glass all through it pulled up out of the carpark, with the stereo blasting and the hotel guy laughing uncontrollably. I was mortified! – Jessica McKenzie, Whanganui New Zealand

(Now that’s what we call travelling five-star on a three-star budget.)

Be careful around escalators!

Be careful around escalators!
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I was on my way to South Africa to visit family, via Singapore and Zurich. I was staying in Singapore one night, so next morning I made sure I was dressed warm for the very cold transit through Zurich to South Africa. I wore a long black skirt and warm jacket.

As I had quite a few hours at the airport, I decided to catch the train into the city. Just as I headed down the escalator, the bottom of my skirt got caught in the escalator.

There was no-one around and I just froze, then saw some men who couldn’t speak English but they saw my problem.

By this time my skirt was around my knees. Talk about embarrassing!

One guy yanked my skirt out. I was so relieved – but had to walk around Zurich with the bottom of my skirt ripped.

I don’t wear long skirts around escalators anymore. – Lorraine Malone, Heathridge Western Australia

(Should have heeded Jackie Kennedy’s advice: a shift or a sheath dress never goes out of style.)

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