83. Reading Skills Comprehension: Alone in the Atlantic Ocean

By | February 11, 2020

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ALONE IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN

Read the following passage carefully and answer the following Questions:-                                                                                          

In 1951, a young French doctor, Main Bombard remarked that shipwrecked men who found themselves afloat at sea without food or fresh water could remain alive for a long time. They could live on the sea and its contents by eating raw fish and its juice. Planktons could prevent scurvy by providing vitamin C.

Dr Bombard decided to prove that he was right. He planned to put himself to sea in an air-filled rubber dinghy with a three-foot-square sail. This was the kind of raft on which a man might really find himself alone on the ocean after a shipwreck. The journey started from Las Palmas on a little raft named ‘U. Heretique’ on October 18.

No sooner had he done so than he ran into trouble. First, a wave swept over the raft. The next day the wind rose his sail. For the first two to three days he had no luck in catching fish and had nothing to drink but seawater. He became depressed and feared failure in this test. As he became hungrier, he also became more determined to succeed.

He had with him some fishing equipment in a sealed tin. But he wanted to avoid using it. His idea was to exist like a shipwrecked sailor. He bent the point of his knife against an oar and then tied it to the end of the oar. He tried to catch a fish but could not. At last, he caught dorado and ate it.

After these first few days, he was never without a supply of fish. Flying seabird fish were the main source of his supply. Once he caught a seabird and thought its flesh would be a pleasant change, but he found that it tasted almost like fish.

A terrifying visitor arrived one day. This was a huge and unfriendly fish. It followed the raft for twelve hours and sometimes bumped against it. If it had really attacked the rubber raft with its vicious sword, it could have cut it to pieces very quickly, and that would have been the end of the experiment. Sharks also followed his raft.

The most frightening of all Bombard’s experiences on the long Atlantic journey was not due to swordfish or sharks. One day he accidentally knocked his air-filled cushion overboard and saw it floating out a hundred yards behind the raft. He swam to it but when he started to swim back, he was horrified to see that the raft was moving faster than him. He put all his strength but was unsuccessful. He saw himself drowning trying to rescue a cushion. So, only a miracle could save him, and a double miracle needed if he had been attacked at that time by a shark. It happened, the anchor fell free, and he pulled himself on board.

Answer the following questions briefly:

(i)How could people stranded at sea, remain alive without food or fresh water?

 (ii) What was the main source of vitamin C at sea?

 (iii) Why did Dr Bombard choose an air-filled rubber dinghy?

 (iv) What danger did the terrifying visitor pose?

 (v) What was the main source of Dr Bombard’s supply?

 (vi) Find the word from the passage (para-3) which means sad and gloomy.

 (vii) How did Dr Bombard think to be saved?

 (viii) What double miracle happened that saved the writer?

Download the above Passage in PDF (Printable)

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