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Engrossed in my music. I drifted out a lot farther than I intended. I was in deep water. It was obvious that there was no way I could paddle around the point. I decided to call it a day. It was slightly past noon. If 1 made good time, I gathered that I could get back for lunch at the floating restaurant, a popular gathering place near the beach, about 90 meters off-shore. Turning the canoe around I headed back. My mouth began watering at the tantalizing thought of a long, cold drink. My stomach reminded me how hungry I was. I had skipped breakfast, and pictures of my favorite food filled my mind. By this time, the novelty of my adventure was wearing off. All I wanted now was to get back and have a good lunch. I just could not imagine how I came this far without even taking along some water for a dry throat. It was sheer complacency or over-confidence.

I wondered if I should return the boat and walk up the beach, but rejected the idea because it meant I would have to swim to the restaurant and I would arrive looking like a drowned rat. No, I would paddle all the way and tie the canoe up to the restaurant. That way, I could have my cold drink and then a hearty lunch without much delay. With that in mind, I paddled with renewed energy. I knew I was making headway when I was opposite my bungalow. Opposite my bungalow ? Goodness gracious me! I must be going the wrong way. It slowly dawned on me that although I was making a concerted effort to paddle to shore , I was even farther away. What was happening ? Why was I not getting closer ?

My heart began to beat faster. Warning signs flashed in my mind. I wanted someone to know I was having difficulty, but I was well out of earshot and the shore was receding at an alarming rate. I was in trouble, big trouble. 1 ripped off my earphones and tossed them into my bag. I began padding furiously. The once enchanting sea was now very frightening. The surface was choppy. The wind whipped up a series of hostile little waves that I had to fight against. I began to think of my loved ones. Dad and mum would be shocked to find me in this part of the world. I had come to the holiday retreat without informing anyone. No one would know where to look for me, least of all the coast of the Philippines. I prayed desperately for God's help.

In spite of myself, I was momentarily mesmerized by the underwater sea life. I saw a giant manta ray, his huge wings oscillating. An electric blue starfish clung to the reef. A school of shimmering neon fish darted nervously in and out of a cluster of sea anemones. Suddenly an enormous rainbow-speckled fish appeared. With lightning speed, jaws open, it moved in for the kill and disappeared between the seaweed with a gullet full of neon fish. I trembled at the sight of the incident. I prayed that a wave would not toss me into the sea with these fearsome creature. The mere thought of them petrified me, I felt like crying, something that I had never done a long time, even at the death of my grandmother a year ago.

After some terrifying twenty minutes, I threw down my paddle in exasperation. How was I going to get out this mess ? I was moving at an alarming speed straight out to sea. All the distance I had just covered had been in vain, I picked up the paddle and stroked furiously again, spurred on by my rising fear. Every stroke now was in direct opposition to the current. The friction of the splintered wood paddle against my soft hands had shredded my palms raw. I was in agony. The sun turned from primrose to flaming orange. I had only one and a half hours before darkness. The thought of spending the night in the sea terrified me more than ever, Death flashed past my mind.

     
  1.

From paragraph 1,

    (a) where was the writer ?
    (b) why didn't she realize that she was drifting out ?
       
  2. From paragraph 1, how do you know that the writer was (a) thirsty, and (b) hungry ?
       
  3. From paragraph 2
    (a) what made the writer decide to row the canoe to the restaurant ?
    (b) why did she not make any progress despite paddling hard ?
       
  4. From paragraph 4,
    (a) what did the rainbow-specked fish remind her of ?
    (b) how did she feel ?
       
  5. From paragraph 5,
    (a) how did the writer know that darkness was coming soon ?
    (b) why was she terrified ?
       
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Answers

 
  1. (a) She was drifting in a boat quite far out in the sea.
    (b) She was listening to music, oblivious to where she was going.
       
  2. (a) She was yearning for a cold drink.
    (b) She was dreaming of her favorite food.
       
  3. (a) She wanted to reach the restaurant without further delay as she was hungry and thirsty.
    (b) She was probably being pushed out to sea by the strong current of wind.
       
  4. (a) It reminded her of some fearsome creature that would swallow her up with ease.
    (b) She felt petrified.
       
  5. (a) The sun had turned from primrose to flaming orange.
    (b) The thought of spending the night in the sea terrified her.
       
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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