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“We’re Not afraid to die… if We Can All Be Together”-
By- Gordon Cook and Alan East
Short and Simple Summary of the lesson in English– “We’re Not afraid to die… if We Can All Be Together”/ Summary in simple Words/ Critical appreciation of the lesson – “We’re Not afraid to die… if We Can All Be Together”
It was in July 1976 that the narrator, along with his wife Mary, son Jonathan and daughter Suzanne. Set sail from Plymouth. England to sail around the world. The son was just six years old while the daughter was seven. The narrator was a 37 years old businessman. But he dreamt like an explorer. He wanted to repeat the performance of Captain James Cook, made 200 years earlier. For 16 years he had been improving his seafaring skills in British waters. He invested all his savings on titling and testing out a boat, called Wavewalker. It was 23 metres long and 30 ton in weight, with a wooden lower part.
They had to cover more than one lakh kilometres distance in three years. The first leg of the voyage up to Cape Town, South Africa, Passed pleasantly. Before heading for the east, the narrator hired two crewmen—an American named Larry vigil and a Swiss named Herb Ziegler. For their help, He knew that the Southern Indian Ocean was very rough, Stormy and dangerous. As they left Cape Town, they began to face strong winds which kept blowing for a few weeks. But the gales did not frighten him so much as the size of the waves, which were up to 15 metres high, almost touching the main mast.
On December 25, the boat was 3.500 km east of Cape Town. In spite of foul weather, they celebrated Christmas. They hoped still that the weather would change, and it did change, but for the worse.
On January 2 mornings, the waves rose very high. They were sailing slowly. The ship rose to the top of each wave as they hit it. The wind screamed. To slow the boat down, they dropped the storm sail and put a heavy rope in a loop across the back part of the boat. They equipped themselves with lifelines, oilskins and life jackets. Then, they waited for the greater danger ahead.
The first sign of the approaching disaster came with an evil silence. The wind dropped and the sky became dark. With a deafening roar, a cloud like a thing hit the ship. It was, in fact, a strong and high wave. The death seemed quite at hand. The roar increased to thunder. The back part of the boat moved up. An explosion shook the platform. A wave broke over the ship and the narrator’s head hit against the wheel. He felt as if he was being swallowed by the waves. But he did not lose hope and patience.
The boat was almost turning over. The masts or poles lay flat. The narrator grabbed the rails. He was tossed around the deck like a rag doll. His chest bones cracked, his teeth were broken and his mouth was filled with blood. But he hung on to the wheel.
There was water all over. It had flown below but there was no way to examine the exact position. Suddenly, the lid over the opening on the deck was thrown open. Mary screamed that the lower part of the ship was full of water. She was told to take the wheel. The narrator went down to check on the other members. The two crewmen Larry and Herb were madly trying to pump out the water. The sideboard of the ship had bulged inwards. Clothes, charts and crockery were floating like toys. He moved towards the children’s cabin and found them safe on the upper berth. But Sue had a bump on her head.
The narrator found a hammer, screws and canvas. He made some repairs to stop the water from entering. He spread the canvas across the open holes. Some water now flowed towards the sides instead of below.
More problems arose when the handpumps were blocked up with debris. The electric pump went out of order. The water level rose dangerously. Back on deck, the narrator found the two spare handpumps also thrown overboard. Then, he thought of another electric pump in the chat room. He connected it to an out-pipe and it worked.
The night was bitterly cold. They sent out distress radio signals asking for help. The little girl’s head was swollen and she got black eyes due to her injury. She also had a deep cut on her arm. But she didn’t complain because she didn’t want to cause worry to her father.
By January 3 morning, the situation was under control. The narrator and other members took two hours’ rest in the rotation. They had survived for 15 hours since the wave hit. But the boat was badly damaged. It was not likely to take them safely to Australia. The narrator checked the charts and found two small islands. Ile Amsterdam was a French scientific base. Their only hope was now to reach there somehow. So they headed for those islands. They ate some beef and biscuits. The first food in almost two days.
At 4 p.m. Black clouds began to build up again. The weather remained had throughout the night. On January 5 morning, the narrator went in to comfort the children. His son Jon asked if they were going to die. He added that they were not afraid to die if they stayed together—all four of them.
That evening Mary and the narrator felt that the end was very near. But the boat rode out the storm. By the morning of January 6, the wind ceased. He calculated their position. While he Was thinking, Sue, joined him and gave him a self-made card. She had drawn the funny figures of her mother and father to make them laugh and to thank them. He hoped to see the island at about 5 pm. Then he went below to get a short nap. At 6 pm, Jonathan and Sue woke him up to give the happy news. The island of Amsterdam was in sight. The next morning, they were received by all the 28 workers on the island.