Understanding the Text
1. List the steps taken by the captain.
(i) to protect the ship when rough weather began.
Ans. The captain dropped the storm jib. He also tied together the heavy rope in a loop across the back part of the boat and double lashed the Wavewalker.
(ii) to check up flooding of the water in the ship.
Ans. Larry and Herb worked continuously like madmen to pump the water out that was flowing down through the hole on the deck. The captain also carried out timely repairs to turn the direction of the water. He spread canvas and put covers across the holes.
2. Describe the mental condition of the voyagers on 4 and 5 January.
Ans. On January 4, the voyagers found the water level declines. Only a few centimetres of water was left inside the ship. After 36 hours, they were a little relaxed and hopeful of reaching the two islands. They also ate their first meal—some beef and biscuits, in almost two days.
But on January 5 morning, the situation grew worse as the wind was back. Even the children were haunted by the thought of death.
3. Describe the shifts in the narration of the events as indicated in the three sections of the text. Give a sub-title to each section.
Ans.Confident voyagers — The first section describes the voyage from England to Cape Town. The narrator and Mary were confident of reaching their destination safely.
Desperation and frenzy — But at Cape Town, the captain decided to make preparations for the storms and high waves eastward. The Southern Indian Ocean was known to be very rough. So he hired two crewmen—American Larry and swiss Herb. And his fears were not unfounded. They began to face strong winds and high waves.
On January 2, the waves became huge and high. They put on life-jackets. For 15 hours, they fought desperately with dangerous waves.
Despondence and then victory—On January 4, the situation improved a bit but for a short time. They started waiting for death. But the Wavewalker rode out of the storm by 6 January. And they relaxed a while and slept in the rotation and finally anchored for the night offshore all Amsterdam.
Talking about the Text
1. What difference did you notice between the reaction of the adults and the children when faced with danger?
Ans. The adults and the children reacted as was befitting their age. The captain, his wife and the two crewmen fought bravely and worked madly to defeat the stormy sea waves. They knew that if they did not fight the waves, they would all die. At one point the captain and his wife had almost lost all hope, they were desperate, but the children thought differently. Suzanne suffered injuries, Jon was also shaken; yet, they remained cool and composed. The children made a card to make their parents laugh. They were not afraid to die. All showed remarkable courage and patience.
2. How does the story suggest that optimism helps to endure the direct stress?
Ans. It is a story of the fight between two unequals—man and sea or Nature. The voyagers sailed out to go round the world with courage and confidence. But death stared at them in the face as the Wavewalker sailed eastward from Cape Town. They did all they could to save their boat as well as their own selves. They refused to accept defeat even when they were injured. The boat was badly broken, and death seemed near. The children and the crewmen remained cheerful and hopeful in the face of death. Their optimism helped them ride over the waves to reach a safe haven—an island.
3. What lessons do we learn from such hazardous experiences when we are face-to-face with death?
Ans. The lesson we learn is about man’s high dreams, steely determination, fighting spirit, and optimism even when there was little hope left. The voyagers were mentally prepared for the travails of the long voyage and the moody sea waves. Their experience was horrifying but is inspiring for the readers. It establishes the victory of the spirit of man over Nature. It teaches us a great lesson end that is not to lose confidence and hope even when death seems certain.
4. Why do you think people undertake such adventurous expeditions in spite of the risks involved?
Ans. Adventures attract the brave and frighten the weak. Man’s life-story on this earth has been full of struggle against odds, dangers, diseases and disasters. His expeditions have led him to the two poles and even to the moon. Every failure has been a wonderful teacher for him. It only enthused him to try again and try for success. Captain Cook sailed around the world. And Edmond Hillary scaled Mount Everest. Was it for any personal monetary gain? No. They enjoyed doing the impossible, to conquer the air, water and Nature. The narrator also staked all his savings and even courted death in order to repeat the performance of James Cook. And he was successful at last. indomitable spirit in man urges him to undertake adventurous expeditions.
Thinking about Language
1. We have come across words like ‘gale’ and ‘storm’ in the account. Here are two more words for ‘storm’: typhoon, cyclone. How many words does your language have for ‘storm?
Ans. Tempest, tornado, squall, hurricane. तूफ़ान,तेज,प्रचण्ड,वायु,बवण्डर
2. Here are the terms for different kinds of vessels: Yacht, boat, canoe, ships, steamer, schooner. Think of similar terms in your language.
Ans. नौक ा, जलयान /जलपोत, बेड़ा
3. ‘Catamaran’ is a kind of boat. Do you know which Indian language this word is derived from? Check the dictionary.
Ans. The word Catamaranis of Tamil origin. It meantiedwood.
4. Have you heard any boatmen’s songs? What kind of emotions do these songs usually express?
Ans. Sarojini Naidu also wrote a boatmen’s song. The poem expresses their adoration of the sea because of itis their bread-giver. Hut the same sea in anger takes their lives. The boatmen pray to the Sea-god to spare their lives.
Working with Words
1. The roaft wing words used in the text as ship terminology are also commonly used in another sense. In what contexts would you use the other meaning?
|Knot stern boom hatch archon|
Ans. Can you untie this knot?
Some school teachers and employers are very stern and strict.
The population boom is an ominous sign of total economic collapse.
All egg-laying birds hatch their eggs.
An anchor is a person who coordinates the work of a group.
II.The following three-compound words end in—ship. What does each of them mean?
Ans. Airship: aeroplane
Flagship: an admiral’s ship
Lightship: a ship stationed at a place unsafe for boats/ships. It has a light to
Warn them to keep away.
III. The following are the meanings listed in the dictionary against the phrase ‘take on.’ In which meaning is used in the third paragraph of the account?
Take on sth. : to begin to have a particular quality or appearance; to assume sth.
Take sh on: to employ sb., to engage sb. To accept somebody as one’s Opponent in a game, contest or conflict.
Take sb/sth on: to decide to do sth; to allow something/somebody to enter e.g. A Bus, plane or ship: to take sth/sb on board.
Ans. The phrase takeonis used in the sense of hiring or employing the helpers/the two crewmen.