Time is passing at great cost. Everyone of us realize how bleak our situation is. Creaks from the boat seem the only sounds to matter. The boat is lifting and lowering like a slow vibrating sound wave on the ocean. In my mind a loud buzz or hum begins to consume my consciousness, louder and louder like the white noise of an end of transmission TV station. The noise is deafening, then in the background beginning ever so faintly I hear the Blue Danube Waltz. A faint smile crosses my lips as in this situation of doom a musical joke dances in my head. Slowly it dissipates to a sense of defeat.
I begin to feel nauseated; pangs of hunger and helplessness snatch my attention. Staring into the distance, reflecting light blurs my vision. Like a baby in a carriage, destiny is determined by forces beyond my control. Subdued I drift into a hypnotic trance looking at some logs floating towards us in the ocean. At some point my eyes close and I enter into nothingness.
“Over here!” Virginia’s voice is faint and strained.
Too tired to open my eyes and feeling some comfort in my fetal position, I just lie there.
“Over here!” This time Virginia’s voice is a little louder. I feel the canvas move, stiffly shifting as it has become a frozen whole. The sound of the cracking canvas becomes irritating as Virginia attempts to get up. I am content to accept my fate. She’s delirious I think, yet with as much strength as I can muster I open an eye. Through the slit of vision I can see that our dinghy is surrounded by undulating waves, and that the logs are getting closer. No, not logs I think, but whales. An uninvited wave blocks my vision. I open my other eye wincing as I try to raise myself. Somehow the whales transform themselves into people in kayaks paddling towards us.
Now broadside, the people in the kayaks are talking to us in a foreign tongue. Gently but firmly poking at us with their paddles; they are trying to rouse us out of unconsciousness and to stimulate movement. They toss across a cloth bag. Inside we find some leathery meat. They motion for us to eat it.
With one on each side and three in front they tow our lifeboat to shore. The shoreline is rocky and barren. Beyond the shore a frozen wasteland stretches as far as the eye could see. Weather beaten rock ledges and boulders spaciously dot the white canvas scene. We are ushered from the boats by a series of hand gestures accompanied by instructions in an incomprehensible tongue. We are wrapped in blankets and furs and then motioned to be seated onto some awaiting dog sleds. From a covered sled a figure appears and approaches the sled I am on. Another person brings over a cup of warm liquid, judging from the steam rising from it, and hands it to me.