Carol looked through the window into the first-class area. There were many
families relaxing on that Sunday afternoon. Children were splashing about the
pool and many were sunbathing or snoozing on easy chairs. However, Carol was not
feeling well. All her life, she had been frightened of boats and the sea but
Gerry, her fiance, had persuaded her to make this journey.
through the two-hour journey, the ship suddenly slowed. A waiter was seen
gesturing to the guests in the restaurant to vacate the place. Carol and Gerry
tried to move with the crowd. Suddenly, the ship tipped to one side. People
started to slide across the tilting floor, shrieking in horror as the ship
tilted once again.
"This can't be happening," Carol thought numbly.
Gerry tried to quell his own rising panic. He asked her to hang on while he
tried to find some life jackets. Suddenly, the ship lurched again and they were
engulfed by the sea of passengers. Gerry was swept away by the avalanche of
screaming people. People started throwing themselves into the sea. "Gerry,
Gerry!" Carol screamed. Gerry saw her among the crowd. Fighting his way through,
he tried to reach her but the floor was rising beneath him. Then, he could not
see Carol anymore.
Gerry grabbed hold of two life jackets and swam towards where Carol was. His
head hit a wall. His lungs were desperate for air. He tried to think. "Stay
calm, for Carol's sake, I've got to stay calm."
Meanwhile, Carol had been swept into a huge swirl of bubbling water. She swam
as hard as she could but her efforts were hampered by panic-stricken hands. They
gripped her shirt and she could feel herself sinking once again. She kicked and
wriggled away. Then, she suddenly heard the heartwarming sound of Gerry calling
in the darkness.
They met and hugged each other. Carol started vomiting. A few metres away,
they noticed that the ship had sunk. Gerry pulled Carol away from the ship. The
screaming was gone. Instead it was replaced by some eerie wails and sobs. Carol
tried to keep up with Gerry. Fortunately, the strong current helped. "We have to
swim to that island," Gerry pointed to the lighthouse some distance away. It
looked near but Carol knew it was more than twenty kilometres away. Moreover,
they knew that the sea had sharks. Gerry sensed her fear and started swimming.
Suddenly, they noticed something orange floating nearby. Carol was weary of
seeing another dead body, reminding her of her own
imminent death. "It's a life jacket!" they exclaimed in unison. Laughing
with joy, they held on to it and turned towards the lighthouse once again. Carol
grabbed some tomatoes floating nearby and they sucked on them each time they
Dawn broke with a rush. They had swum and rested every ten minutes,
struggling to cover a reasonable distance. Carol could already see the white
sandy beach but they were not getting any closer. "Just keep going," Gerry urged
as if reading her mind. "Keep on swimming, don't give up now," he said as
another huge wave swept them away from the island. They swam with all their
Then, Carol gasped, "I can see a ship!" Soon, they realised it was an oil
tanker which was on a search-and-rescue operation. Gerry kicked hard, thrusting
himself out of the water, and waved the orange life jacket frantically. The ship
slowed and they were hoisted up onto the deck. They had been in the water for
more than sixteen hours. Gerry saw a few passengers who were rescued earlier and
they came forward and hugged the weary couple. No words were exchanged. It was
unnecessary as their eyes spoke of the horrifying moments they had lived
through. Later, they found out that only forty passengers had survived.