List the steps taken by the captain.
(i) to protect the ship when rough weather began
(ii) to check the flooding of the water in the ship
(i) The author, the captain of the ship and his family started an adventurous voyage by sea on their boat ‘Wavewalker’ in July 1976 from Plymouth, England. The first phase of their planned three-year, 105,000 kilometre journey passed pleasantly. They began to encounter strong gales when they were on their second day out of Cape Town. The captain was aware of the rough weather ahead. That is why he had taken the services of Larry Vigil, an American and Herb Seigler, a Swiss. He did so to tackle the world’s roughest sea, the southern India Ocean
The strong winds blew continuously for the next few weeks. The size of the waves was alarming, which was upto 15 metres as high as their boat’s main mast was. They were 3500 kilometres east of Cape Town on 25th December. Though the weather was extremely bad, yet they celebrated Christmas. iW waves became gigantic at dawn on January 2. They were sailing with only a small storm jib and were still making eight knots
To protect the ship from rough weather, the captain decided to slow the boat down. To do so, they dropped the storm jib and lashed heavy mooring rope in a loop across the stem. In order to protect themselves further, he got double-lashed everything. Then they went through their lift-raft drill, attached lifeliness, donned oilskins and life jackets. This is how the captain tried to protect the ship when rough weather began
(ii) The author, the captain, his wife Mary, his six-year-old son Jonathan and his seven-year-old daughter Suzanne started their round-the-world sea voyage by their boat Wavewalker. They had planned their journey for three years and were supposed to cover 105,000 kilometres. They started their long journey in July 1976 from Plymouth, England.
They reached Cape Town safely. But just on their second day out of Cape Town, they had to encounter strong gales, which blew continuously for the next few weeks. At dawn on January 2, the waves were extraordinarily large and high. At about 6 p.m. there appeared a wave, perfectly vertical and almost twice the height of other waves. Then a tremendous explosion shook the deck. A strong fast stream of green and white water broke over the ship. The head of the captain smashed into the wheel and he was aware of flying overboard and sinking below the waves.
Then unexpectedly, the author’s head came out of the water. He saw Wavewalker nearly overturning. But a wave hurled her upright. He grabbed the guard rails and sailed through the air into Wavewalker’s main boom. His left ribs were cracked and his mouth was filled with blood and broken teeth. Somehow, he found the wheel, lined up the stem for the next wave and hung on.
There was water everywhere. His wife Mary told him that the decks were smashed and they were full of water. He asked her to take the wheel. Through hatch he went down and found that Larry and Herbs were pumping fastly and continuously. After finding a hammer, screws and canvas, the captain struggled back on deck. With the starboard side bashed open, they were taking water with each wave that broke over them.
Somehow the captain managed to stretch canvas and secure waterproof hatch covers across the gaping holes. Some water continued to stream below, but most of it was now being deflected over the side. The hand pumps had started blocking and the electric pump was short circuited. Then the captain connected another electric pump to an out-pipe and it started working. They had been continuously pumping. He also hoisted the storm jib.
Describe the mental condition of the voyagers on 4 and 5 January.
The author and his family started their adventurous sea voyage on their boat Wavewalker m July 1976 from Plymouth, England. The first phase of their planned three- year, 105,000 kilometre journey passed pleasantly. However they began to encounter strong gales when they were on their second day out of Cape Town.
They faced the alarmingly high, sea waves, which broke over the ship, injuring him and his daughter Sue. A part of their ship had damaged and a lot of water had entered the ship. The author repaired the ship as far as he could do. But still they were deeply disturbed about their uncertain fate
On January 4, after 36 hours of continuous pumping, they reached the last few centimetres of water. Now they had only to keep pace with the water still coming in. The voyagers were tired, hungry and struggling hard to survive. Mary found some corned beef and cracker biscuits and they had their first meal in almost two days. But their respite was for a short time only. At 4 p.m. black clouds began building up behind them. The weather continued to deteriorate throughout the night. They were probably aware of their approaching death.
On January 5, their situation was again desperate. Even the children were aware of their approaching death. But the children too showed exemplary courage. The author’s son told his daddy that they were not afraid of death if they could all be together his daddy and mummy and Sue and Jonathan.
The author was so moved with these words that he was determined to fight the sea with whatsover he had. The author and his wife sat together that evening holding hands, as the motion of the ship brought more water in through the broken planks. They both felt that their end was approaching very near. Thus their mental condition was quite positive despite the danger of death they were facing.
Describe the shifts in the narration of the events as indicated in the three sections of the text. Give a suitable to each section.
The first section of the text describes how the author and his family set sail from Plymouth England in July 1976 on their boat Wavewalker. They had spent months fitting their boat and testing it in the roughest weather. The first phase of their planned three- year, 105,000 kilometre journey passed pleasantly as they sailed down the west coast of ‘ Africa to Cape Town. But on their second day out of Cape Town, they began to encounter strong gales, which blew continuously for the next few weeks. The size of the waves was alarming. At dawn on January 2, the waves were gigantic.
At 6 p.m. an exceptionally high wave hit the ship and a tremendous explosion shook the deck. A torrent of green and white water broke over the ship. The author’s had smashed into the wheel, he flew overboard and sank below the waves. But unexpectedly his head popped out of the water. A few metres away, he saw Wavewalker nearly capsizing. But a wave hurled her up right. There was water everywhere.
He asked his wife Mary to take the wheel. When he went to the children’s cabin, he found that his daughter Sue’s head was hurt and there was a big bump above her eyes. The author repaired the ship as far as he could do. A lot of water had entered due to which they had been pumping continuously. Their Mayday calls got no replies
The second section is about their search for an island. By morning on January 3, the water level was sufficiently under control. So they took two hours’ rest in rotation. But still there was a tremendous leak somewhere below the waterline. A whole section of the started board hull was damaged and there was nothing holding it up. They had survived for 15 hours since the wave hit. But Wavewalker would not hold together long enough to reach Australia. So, the author was looking for the nearest island.
On checking the charts, the author calculated that there were two small island a few hundred kilometres to the east. Their only hope was to reach one of them. One of them lie Amsterdam was a French scientific base. On January 4, after 36 hours of continuous pumping, they reached the last few centimetres of water. Now, they had only to keep pace with the water still coming in. Mary found some corned beef and cracker biscuits, and they ate their first meal in almost two days. But at 4 p.m. black clouds began building up behind them. The weather continued to deteriorate throughout the night. By dawn on January 5, their situation was again desperate.
When he went to comfort the children, his son Jon said, I “But, daddy, we aren’t afraid of dying if we can all be together you mid Mummy, Sue and I.” That evening Mary and the author sat together holding hands. They both felt that the end was near. But Wavewalker rode out of the storm and by the morning of January 6, with the wind easing, he tried to get a reading on the sextant. He came to know that they were somewhere in 150,000 kilometres of ocean looking for a 65 kilometre wide island.
The third section is about their cheerful landing on lie Amsterdam. The author had checked and rechecked his calculations. About 2 p.m., he went on deck and asked Larry to steer a course of 185 degrees. He told Larry that he could see the island at about 5 p.m. Then he went below, climbed on his bunk and dozed off. He woke up at 6 p.m. Then he was informed by his children that he had found the island. They anchored offshore for the night. Next morning all 28 inhabitants of the island of lie Amsterdam cheered as they helped them ashore.
Talking About The Text
What difference did you notice between the reaction of the adults and the children when faced with danger?
The author, his wife Mary, his six-year-old son Jonathan and his seven-year-old daughter Suzanne set sail from Plymouth, England for a round-the-world voyage by sea. They started their long journey by their boat Wavewalker in July 1976. Their journey upto Cape Town was quite pleasant. Before heading east they took the services of Larry Vigil and Herb Seigler. Thus there were four adults and two children on Wavewalker when they faced the danger of death. A section of their ship was damaged and a lot of water had entered the ship
The reaction of the adults when faced with disaster and danger was that of ‘horror’ when the author saw a wave like no other he had ever seen. When his head smashed into the wheel and he was flying overboard and sinking below the waves, he “accepted” his “approaching death.” When his wife Mary came to him, she “Screamed” and said, “We’re sinking!” Larry and Herb were pumping “Like madmen.” But the children seemed to be more calm and less panicky. When the author entered their cabin they said that they were all right. Sue said that her head hurt a bit, when her condition was much more critical than that.
Later on, when the author found her head swollen alarmingly and she had a deep cut on her arm, the author asked her why she had not made more of her injuries before. Then the brave seven-year-old girl replied, “I didn’t want to worry you when you were trying to save us all.” januuary 5, the situation became again desperate.
Then the author went into com.., ‘ a children. His six year old son Jonathan said courageously, ‘We aren’t afraid of dying all be together you and Mummy, Sue and I.” That evening the author and his wife sat together holding hands, as the motion of the ship brought more and more water in through the broken planks. They both felt that the end was very near. But the children were unaware of the feeling of death.
His daughter Sue gave a card to her daddy on which caricatures of her parents were drawn. Inside the card, there was a message: ‘Oh, how I love you both. So this card is to say thank you and let’s hope for the best.’ This shows their optimism. The author ‘with a heavy heart’ went below, climbed on his bunk and dozed off. When he woke up at 6 p.m. he thought that they had missed the island. Just then Jonathan and Sue came to him and asked for a hug. His son called him the best daddy in the whole world and the best captain. Then his daughter told him the happy news that he had found the island.
Whereas the author did his best to save them from the calamity, the children had their own contribution. Sue did not want them to worry about a head injury. It was so serious that subsequently to remove a recurring blood clot between skin and skull, six minor operations had to be performed. The six-year-old Jonathan was not afraid to die. Of course, Larry and Herb remained cheerful and optimistic under the direst stress. And Mary stayed at the wheel during all those crucial hours.
How does the story suggest that optimism helps to endure “the direst stress”?
The highly adventurous story “We’re not Afraid to Die… If we can all be together” shows that by optimism, courage and conviction, we can endure the direst stress. The author, his wife Mary, his son Jonathan and his daughter Sue started their round-the-world sea voyage in July 1976 from Plymouth, England. At Cape Town, they took the services of two crewmen Larry Vigil and Herb Seigler.
Though during their voyage, they faced the danger of death several times, yet none of them ever lost hope. They remained optimistic during disaster. Even the children had shown an exemplary courage and optimism. Rather, they seemed to be more calm and less panicky. The author though worried for the safety of others, always tried his best until the Wavewalker touched the island lie Amsterdam. Even his children did not want to worry him because the author was trying to save them all. Sue did not tell how serious her head injury was.
The best example of optimism is shown by the card presented by her to her daddy with this message : ‘Oh, how I loved you both. So this card is to say thank you and let’s hope for the best.’ Larry and Herb also remained cheerful and optimistic during all this crucial time. Mary also was on the wheel with a hope of their survival. Thus through this story we learn that optimism does help to “endure the direst stress.”
What lessons do we learn from such hazardous experiences when we are face to face with death ?
The sea voyage which the author and his family undertook was quite a hazardous experience from them. Several times they were face to face with death. But with their courage, conviction, struggle and optimism they were able to reach the island lie Amsterdam though their boat was badly damaged and a lot of water had entered in it.
When we are face to face with death either we can lose heart and stop struggling. Or we can struggle hard for our survival in a courageous and optimistic manner what the author and his family and Larry and Herb did under the disasterous situation. Half the battle is lost when we surrender cowardly before the circumstances.
But victory is very much within our reach if we face the death bravely, with balanced mind and, of course, with faith and optimism. Under such circumstances, we should always hope for the best and never cease struggling with the best of our abilities.
Why do you think people undertake such adventurous expeditions in spite of the risks involved ?
From the times immemorial, man has shown courage to t)e adventurous. He has been undertaking adventurous expeditions despite the risk involved. This adventurous spirit enabled him to conquer Mount Everest, to reach Moon and to undertake such aventurous expeditions in the sea, on land and mountains, in space etc. Only brave and courageous people undertake such adventurous expeditions. So naturally they Are not bothered about the risks involved in such adventurous acts.
A man is endowed with the basic urge to discover various places. This urge inspires various people to undertake such adventurous expeditions, like the lone undertook by the author. The author tried to do again what Captain James Cook had Already done 200 years ago. Of course, the people who undertake such expeditions are aware of the risks involved. But being courageous people, they are not afraid of anything which may come in their way to complete an expedition.
Thinking About Language
We have come across word like ‘gale’ and ‘storm’ in the account. Here are some more words for ‘storms’ : typhoon, cyclone. How many words does your language have for ‘storms’ ?
In my language Hindi usually the following words are used for storm :
Here are the names for different kinds of vessels yacht, boat, canoe, ship, steamer, schooner. Think of similar terms in your language.
Similar terms used in Hindi for different kinds of vessels that are used to travel on water are mentioned below :