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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The Death of Enza (and my part in her demise) Part 7.

I start to warm up regardless of the large holes in my survival suit. I need to carry on and do something. Sacha and Luke have started getting suited. Sacha takes off his boots, his very expensive boots, the same make of boot that I had left behind in the galley. He passes them to Pete to hold on to whilst he gets into his survival suit.

Pete seemed a bit flummoxed at holding such unnecessary items.

'Your boots can fuck right off!'

...and with a huge throw they vanish overboard. Sacha stands momentarily gobsmacked and without much to say at all. Through the entire ordeal thus far I think that is the most upset about it I've seen him. Pete turns his attentions to Luke, Sacha accepts that his boots aren't important in the grand scheme of it all and carries on.

So; all of our EPIRBs have been activated, all crew members but Ben Bones are in survival suits, we have one life-raft cut loose from the other side of the netting; Ben and Slava found it impossible to get the other, but oh how they tried! One should be enough.
We have cut the netting to grab anything else that would be floating if on the wrong side of the boat with us. Joining our survival arsenal is a big fender and the Rigid Inflatable Boat, we just need to remember where the holes were cut for future reference so as not to find ourselves falling through the netting.

All that remains of the immediate job list is to inflate our life-raft.
The painter on the life-raft seems so endlessly long. Usually this would be tied onto a fixed point of a boat, the length gives you enough time to inflate the raft, get into the raft and cut it loose before going down with the vessel.
I'm watching Ben Bones pulling away at this rope to inflate our life-raft. It's like watching a magician pulling on an endless string of handkerchiefs. Eager for the finale we'd all gathered to witness the event. Well, it's hardly like we had anywhere else to be.

I'd seen this in training, in a heated, lit and tiled pool in Devon but never in anger before.
We're at the end of the painter. The final trick, a sharp tug on the chord. The casing parts and...



Seven blank faces.

I feel as empty as our life-raft. I can't help but chuckle. Why? Because it's funny and maybe it'll stop me from crying. It is a blow (or huge lack of it) to the survival agenda. This is not what happened in the swimming pool in Devon, I'm not trained for it. I want a refund!

There's no point in worrying about our lack of life-raft. This is the hand we've been dealt, a semi deflated boat that we didn't have before. All it needs is a dinghy and a giant fender. We lash our new inflatable trimaran to the netting as a just-in-case boat, ready to use should our upside down one go any more wrong.

We've gathered alongside what once was the starboard hull, I have in my hand a head torch that I have been using to send out SOS messages to anything that might look like a ship, aircraft or homing pigeon. I know that it won't be seen for anything beyond a hundred meters. Yet doing this was to be doing something and this, right now, meant everything. To show six others that there still is a reason to try. That you've not given up, not yet! For if you do you may as well go for that long swim and accept that the meat on your bones will be a pleasant change in menu for the fish.

1 comment:

  1. Thom. Ive at laaast managed to grab a moment to read your Enza-Death story. I promised myself i wouldn't cry ... I'm a big girl now ... but I can't help it. Calm karaline; deep breath; dive back in for part 8...


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