Determined to make my way to the steering room I cling and grab anything to get to the upper deck. My eyes grow large as I ascend. Through the windows I see ocean swells 20 meters high; like massive watery headstones, searching for their next victims.
Captain Wiggin’s forehead is wrinkled with concentration. Seeing me from the corner of his eye he shouts, “Seems Neptune is trying to claim another soul. This gale brewed up from the Northeast. A bad omen. How’re the others?”
“Don’t know for sure, I haven’t seen Taylor at all,” I yell as a large wave rolls across the deck.
“The Angelica taken on some water, but she’s a dry boat. Aye, that she is.” Wiggins says, mainly to himself.
“Look!” I shout, pointing ahead through the darkness, hope rising briefly in my chest only to be ripped away. “It’s gone. For a moment I thought I saw lights of a boat or town off in the distance.”
We were not granted a second look. A hailstone smashes through the window into a large rack of electronic gear. Frantically the Captain grabs a curly corded microphone from the emergency radio. Clicking a button on the side of the mike and turning knobs he begins repeating a Mayday message, but to no avail. “Radio’s out,” groans Captain Wiggins. “Get below and brace yourself – its going be rough.” Just then a wave crashes into the boat and we both are tossed to one side. The Captain, slammed into the wall, grimaces in pain, but shrugs it off and grips the wheel tightly, stagger stepping his feet as an additional brace against the ferocity of the storm. He stares with fierce intensity into the gloom of night, the sky sliced by lightning every few seconds casting an eerie light. I return below joining the others including Taylor. All were now sitting around the galley table with their lifejackets on.
I yell to be heard. “We are in a bad storm. The radio is out. It’d be a good idea to brace yourselves against the table.”
Virginia directs my attention to a lifejacket for me, motioning me to put it on, which I am happy to do. The endless roar of the ocean and the deafening sound of hailstones against the boat make conversation impossible. We all take turns drinking from a bottle of rum being passed around.
We bobbed and heaved through the ocean’s awful torment, knowing that at any minute our lives could be snatched from us, without even a plea for mercy. Jitters predicted our fate many times throughout the night. We held hands for strength and reassurance. I was surprised by everyone’s relative composure throughout this unforgiving event. We were tossed about like a mechanical bull, diving and pitching, defying gravitational norms. This turbulence was accented by bouts of sea sickness that all had succumbed to. The occurrence was so regular no one left the table. I don’t know if I fell asleep or passed out from exhaustion or the rum, but I was brought to by Jitters voice, “We’re sinking.”