Caught at Sea
The ocean had been my finest comrade. The way the water glinted under the beams of the sun, shining like a million aquamarines, always left me in rapture! Standing on the beach gazing at the horizon and watching the waves’ soft, gentle hands slowly curving towards the sand and washing away the footprints embedded in the sand.
The ocean meant this to me until….
My parents and I went on a long vacation to Australia. After our sojourn, in the basins of Murray-Darling, a visit to the Taronga Zoo in Sydney along with many more exciting places we visited, we came to Sydney Harbour.
At Sydney Harbour there were rows of ships, boats and yachts docked at the harbour. It was a very hot and humid day, so when the cool breeze would blow through the lavish green leaves of the trees it would feel very pleasant. A kiwi flew by anxiously. The jovial sun shone optimistically in the bright, brilliant, blue sky.
The harbour was buzzing with activity. The ships were being loaded and unloaded; some fishermen were coming back from their early morning catch while others were taking stock of their hearty catch. We walked over to one of the assistants and asked her about the yacht we booked last week. She took us to the ‘Tourism Australia’ office. There, after taking the necessary information, she typed in something into her computer. After that she took us outside again and directed us to our yacht. She instructed us about how to control the yacht helped us set the course of the ship and in addition she informed us about the safety procedure.
After some more briefing about the yacht (I was too excited to listen) we finally set sail!
I had been anxiously waiting to get on the yacht since the time my father told me that we would be going to sea. I was extremely excited and thrilled about this journey.
Although, I do have to admit that I was a slightly scared and worried about the ship sinking. I had lately seen an episode of ‘I wish I was dead’ in which they showed a ship sinking and how the passengers had to suffer many casualties. This bothered me. Nonetheless I decided to put away these thoughts and enjoy the trip.
Our course of journey included to circle the Great Barrier Reef and afterwards take a stopover at Brisbane, continue our journey to the Great Barrier Reef and then again a stopover at Brisbane then finally arrive our final destination at Sydney.
Every day as the sun would disappear in the night sky I would enjoy standing on the hull and letting the cool breeze flow through my hair. It was always an extremely refreshing and energising. We did not have a television set; as a consequence I would sometimes end up reading for hours at a stretch. From time to time a pod of dolphins would pass by. The friendly dolphins greeted us with their clicks and clacks. This was always a moment of merriment.
The days went on. Each day I grew fonder of the sea. How diverse the creatures are, every shape and every size. On one of the days I penned these words as they floated through my thoughts, just before the night the sea deceived me!
‘So wild and rich the sea is Although the biggest quiz is How does it come to life, Every day and every night So many creatures of all colours and hues So many creatures of all shapes and sizes How do they manage to stay with each other, So calm and quietly?’
It was a day nothing out of the ordinary with a mundane, monotonous and predictable side to it. I planned to finish one of the books I was reading, mother would finish her work she had got from her school and father would also do some of his work.
As the sun melted into the horizon, the sky gave the impression that it had turned into a bowl of tomato soup. It had been a while since I had stood in the fresh air, therefore I decided to step out and take a whiff of the soothing sea breeze. When I stepped out I discerned a change in the weather. Gusts of strong winds flew across the deck. Thankfully they were not strong enough to knock down or bring down the ship. The cordial and cheerful sun that had gleamed for the past few days was now made elusive by the murky dark grey clouds, which sagged from the sky like a blanket of soot and ash. There were no birds in the sky. No exuberant dolphins. The waves had become larger and vaster compared to what they were a few hours ago. I did not like the way the events were unfolding. I definitely did not like what I saw. As it was too blustery to stay outside I went inside.
To ease my discomfort I tried reading. However, this did not do any good. As my last resort I tried sleeping. This worked wonderfully well! I was glad to take my mind of the sea for a while. I do not know for how long I had been sleeping for when I woke up , I had fallen out of the bed. I bellowed more out of shock than pain and agony. I had no knowledge of what was going on. I had just stood up when again a massive jolt shook the yacht and I fell on the floor again. I went to the deck above. There I saw, that the sky had become inky black, the clouds curtailed the moon from letting its silvery shining light through. The sea’s waves were as tall as a three storey building. The sea had gone wild. It was raging in anger for reasons unknown. A wave struck the deck; I was drenched to the skin. I made my way to the cabin. There my parents were trying to get the yacht under control. They knew what I wanted to ask from the look of my face. They told me that there is nothing to worry about it is just a mild storm. We sat there for another two or two and a half hour.
It was one O’ clock at night and the storm was still raging on. My eyes were sore and red although my phobia, dread and anxiety prohibited me to close my eyes. My head tilted towards my shoulder as if my shoulder wanted to whisper to my ear saying, “Could you please tell this girl to go to sleep, I am tired!” My eyes closed for a minute however I shook myself out of sleep.
The sea, I believe, was having a tremendous fit. The storm began to get wilder and wilder. The sea tossed the yacht around like an old toy while playing ‘Passing the Parcel’.
We were coming towards the end of our journey. This was both dismaying and fortuitous. The threatening storm was now at its peak! The incessant colossal waves attacked their prey, the deck, like a famished and ravenous pack of aggressive hyenas. While thinking about the marvelous works of nature, the storm in particular, appreciating how nature manages to so, I thought of this,
‘The fierce wind blew Circling the ocean as it flew The sky above so dark and grey Not a single streak of moonlight glow The sky shivered The sky quivered A storm was brewing I knew it too But I watched in silence I watched in oblivion A loud thud was heard by all And then down came the rain on all Thunder and lightning deafening my ears Although, I stood there in a trance Wondering how nature brews this wild storm’
I was amazed by this miracle of how nature could brew something so violent and fierce and then also produce a dainty daisy? This thought about nature did not last long.
It had started with a drizzle although now it was raining cats and dogs! The winds blew at unimaginable speeds! Every few minutes thunder and lightning would shake the night sky, along with that the cacophony was ear-splitting. The deck was sodden with water. The sails were dancing about in a catastrophic manner.
The waves were getting fiercer. This was not a very pleasant signal.
Suddenly the yacht took a plunge into the deep, ominous waters of the ocean. The yacht had started to fall apart. The water was filling up the lower compartments. The engine stopped running. I quickly uttered a silent prayer for our safety and not to send our souls to Hades. My whole life flashed in front of my eyes. I assumed that God was punishing me for all my sins. I had not realized that I had been trembling and shaking for the past few minutes (while I had my flash back).
In the meantime my parents had sent out a distress signal. We were in desperate need of help. After many efforts by our yacht, it finally gave way to the sea. It collapsed into two pieces. When it rived into two, there was a massive jolt, as if the yacht had just been hit by a hundred thousand volt bolt. Everything in the room we were sitting in was now out of place or fallen on the floor. The room resembled our minds, chaos everywhere, our minds were in disarray.
The side of the yacht which we were on was sinking gradually into the water. Every time it would go an inch deeper my heart would sink with it. We had no hopes of survival. I thought my life would end here. I was frightened, terrified, distressed, troubled and despondent. I wanted to cry although I held my tears back.
Later, the wrath of the sea subdued. It was much calmer now.
I assume it had been two hours since our yacht started its gradual descent.
All of a sudden I heard the blades of a helicopter. I thought it was just my mind playing tricks on me. I asked if my mother if she could hear the roller blades. She nodded. My father said that he could hear them too.
A ray of hope appeared from the dark. There was a single streak of a dwindling possibility that the helicopter was there and it would help us.
We went outside where we could be seen. Then we started waving our hands and yelling at the top of our lungs to try to attract their attention.
It seemed as if the helicopter was sent by God especially for us.
The helicopter came towards us. A man came out from the helicopter. With the aid of a rope, he helped us climb the rope and reach the safety of the helicopter.
Once we were inside I felt as if I was on the top of the world! When I looked back at the submerging yacht; I realised how fortunate I was. That day I had experienced a day which could take a turn in any direction; one towards the end of life, while the other more fortunate one of surviving. I survived and I am grateful to God that I did. May God always keep his eye upon us and bless us.