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We're Not Afraid to Die... | NCERT Solution| English | Class XI

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

Lesson Architecture:

We’re Not afraid to Die — If We Can All Be Together By Gordon Cook and Alan Easton Cook and Alan East


The story, ‘We’re Not afraid to Die—if We Can All Be Together” is a story of extreme courage and skill exhibited by Gordon Cook, his family and crewmen in a war with water and waves for survival.The story describes how a mighty wave broke over them, and damaged the ship badly. But with much fortitude and optimism, the crew struggled and survived to reach Isle Amsterdam in the Indian Ocean.

Critical Analysis:

  • "We're Not Afraid to Die... if We Can All Be Together" is a gripping and inspiring story that recounts the harrowing experiences of a family facing tremendous challenges at sea.

  • The story, written by Gordon Cook and Alan East, provides a vivid account of the power of determination, resilience, and the unbreakable bonds of love and unity.

  • One of the notable strengths of the story is its ability to create a sense of tension and suspense. The authors effectively convey the relentless fury of nature through vivid descriptions of gales, monsoons, and the daunting conditions the family encounters.

  • The readers are kept on the edge of their seats as they witness the family's struggle for survival in the face of treacherous seas, waterlogged boats, and constant danger.

  • The narrative also delves into the psychological and emotional toll of the journey. The characters face fear, despair, and exhaustion, making their triumphs all the more remarkable.

  • The story highlights the importance of inner strength, determination, and teamwork in the face of adversity. The characters' unwavering resolve and their refusal to give up despite overwhelming odds inspire readers and underscore the human spirit's capacity to endure.

  • Furthermore, the story explores the themes of family bonds and camaraderie. The family's unity and support for one another become essential factors in their survival.

  • The authors depict the deep love and commitment shared among the family members, reinforcing the notion that facing challenges together can make individuals stronger and enable them to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

  • Critically analyzing the story, one might argue that some aspects could have been further developed. While the narrative emphasizes the physical challenges and survival tactics, the characters themselves could have been more fully fleshed out. Providing deeper insights into their thoughts, emotions, and backgrounds would have allowed for a stronger connection between the readers and the characters, enhancing the overall impact of the story.

  • Additionally, while the story is engaging and inspiring, there may be a lack of in-depth exploration of the broader themes and implications of their journey.

  • The story primarily focuses on the family's survival, and the wider social, cultural, and environmental contexts remain relatively unexplored. A more nuanced examination of these aspects could have added greater depth and resonance to the narrative.

  • Overall, "We're Not Afraid to Die... if We Can All Be Together" is a compelling story that captivates readers with its gripping tale of survival and the power of human resilience. It serves as a testament to the strength of the human spirit, the importance of unity, and the unwavering determination to overcome challenges.

  • While it could have benefited from further character development and deeper exploration of its themes, the story remains a testament to the indomitable nature of the human will.

Text With Paraphrase

( Para 1)

IN July 1976, my wife Mary, son Jonathan, 6, daughter Suzanne, 7, and I set sail from Plymouth, England, to duplicate the round the-world voyage made 200 years earlier by Captain James Cook. For the longest time, Mary and I — a 37-year-old businessman — had dreamt of sailing in the wake of the famous explorer, and for the past 16 years we had spent all our leisure time honing our seafaring skills in British waters.

Paraphrase in Easy English

In July 1976, my wife Mary, our son Jonathan, who was 6 years old at the time, our daughter Suzanne, who was 7 years old, and I started a sailing journey from Plymouth, England. Our goal was to recreate the same journey around the world that Captain James Cook had made 200 years earlier. Mary and I, who was a 37-year-old businessman, had been dreaming of following in the footsteps of the famous explorer for a long time. Over the past 16 years, we had spent all our free time practicing and improving our skills for sailing on the sea in the United Kingdom.

Para 2

Our boat Wavewalker, a 23 metre, 30 ton wooden-hulled beauty, had been professionally built, and we had spent months fitting it out and testing it in the roughest weather we could find.

Paraphrase in Easy English

Our boat, Wavewalker, was a beautiful wooden-hulled vessel that measured 23 meters in length and weighed 30 tons. It was professionally constructed, and we had spent several months preparing and equipping it for our journey. We made sure to test it in the most severe weather conditions we could find to ensure its durability and suitability for our voyage.

Para 3

The first leg of our planned three-year, 105,000 kilometre journey passed pleasantly as we sailed down the west coast of Africa to Cape Town. There, before heading east, we took on two crewmen — American Larry Vigil and Swiss Herb Seigler — to help us tackle one of the world’s roughest seas, the southern Indian Ocean.

Paraphrase in Easy English

The initial part of our planned three-year, 105,000-kilometer journey went well as we sailed along the western coast of Africa towards Cape Town. Once we reached Cape Town, we decided to take on two additional crew members, Larry Vigil from the United States and Herb Seigler from Switzerland. They joined us to assist in navigating through the southern Indian Ocean, which is known for being one of the most challenging and rough seas in the world.

Para 4

On our second day out of Cape Town, we began to encounter strong gales. For the next few weeks, they blew continuously. Gales did not worry me; but the size of the waves was alarming — up to 15 metres, as high as our main mast.

Paraphrase in Easy English

On the second day after leaving Cape Town, we started experiencing powerful and strong winds known as gales. These gales continued for several weeks without stopping. I wasn't too concerned about the gales themselves, but what worried me was the enormous size of the waves they created. These waves reached up to 15 meters in height, which was as tall as our main mast on the ship. The sheer size of the waves was quite alarming and posed a significant challenge for us.

Para 5

December 25 found us 3,500 kilometres east of Cape Town. Despite atrocious weather, we had a wonderful holiday complete with a Christmas tree. New Year’s Day saw no improvement in the weather, but we reasoned that it had to change soon. And it did change — for the worse.

Paraphrase in Easy English

On December 25th, we were located 3,500 kilometers to the east of Cape Town. Even though the weather was extremely bad, we managed to have a delightful holiday and even set up a Christmas tree to celebrate. As New Year's Day arrived, the weather didn't show any signs of improvement, but we hoped that it would get better soon. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse, and the weather deteriorated even further.

Para 6

At dawn on January 2, the waves were gigantic. We were sailing with only a small storm jib and were still making eight knots. As the ship rose to the top of each wave we could see endless enormous seas rolling towards us, and the screaming of the wind and spray was painful to the ears. To slow the boat down, we dropped the storm jib and lashed a heavy mooring rope in a loop across the stern. Then we double-lashed everything, went through our life-raft drill, attached lifelines, donned oilskins and life jackets — and waited.

Paraphrase in Easy English

As the sun rose on January 2nd, we were faced with massive waves. We were sailing with only a small storm jib, a type of sail, yet we were still moving at a speed of eight knots. Each time our ship climbed to the top of a wave, we could see countless enormous waves approaching us. The sound of the wind and spray was so strong that it hurt our ears. To reduce the speed of the boat, we lowered the storm jib and secured a thick mooring rope in a loop across the back of the ship. We then made sure everything was tightly secured and prepared for emergency situations. We went through our life-raft drill, attached lifelines to keep us connected to the ship, put on our protective oilskin clothing and life jackets, and then we waited, knowing that the situation was serious and we needed to be prepared for whatever might happen.

Para 7

The first indication of impending disaster came at about 6 p.m., with an ominous silence. The wind dropped, and the sky immediately grew dark. Then came a growing roar, and an enormous cloud towered aft of the ship. With horror, I realised that it was not a cloud, but a wave like no other I had ever seen. It appeared perfectly vertical and almost twice the height of the other waves, with a frightful breaking crest.

Paraphrase in Easy English

The first sign of something terrible about to happen occurred around 6 p.m. There was a strange and unsettling silence as the wind suddenly calmed down. The sky quickly became dark, and then a loud rumbling sound began to grow. Behind our ship, a massive cloud-like formation started to rise. But to my horror, I soon realized that it wasn't actually a cloud—it was a wave unlike any I had ever seen before. This wave looked incredibly steep and nearly twice as tall as the other waves around us. It had a terrifying crest that was breaking with great force. The sight of this wave filled me with fear and dread.

Para 8

The roar increased to a thunder as the stern moved up the face of the wave, and for a moment I thought we might ride over it. But then a tremendous explosion shook the deck. A torrent of green and white water broke over the ship, my head smashed into the wheel and I was aware of flying overboard and sinking below the waves. I accepted my approaching death, and as I was losing consciousness, I felt quite peaceful.

Paraphrase in Easy English

The sound of the wave grew louder and louder, like the rumble of thunder, as the back of our ship started to climb up the steep slope of the wave. For a brief moment, I hoped that maybe we could ride over it and be safe. However, that hope was shattered when a tremendous explosion shook the ship violently. Suddenly, an overwhelming rush of green and white water crashed over the ship, hitting me with great force. My head slammed into the wheel, and before I knew it, I was thrown overboard and sinking beneath the waves. In that moment, I accepted that I might die, and surprisingly, I felt a strange sense of peace as I started to lose consciousness.

Para 9

Unexpectedly, my head popped out of the water. A few metres away, Wavewalker was near capsizing, her masts almost horizontal. Then a wave hurled her upright, my lifeline jerked taut, I grabbed the guard rails and sailed through the air into Wavewalker’s main boom. Subsequent waves tossed me around the deck like a rag doll. My left ribs cracked; my mouth filled with blood and broken teeth. Somehow, I found the wheel, lined up the stern for the next wave and hung on.

Paraphrase in Easy English

To my surprise, I suddenly resurfaced above the water. Just a few meters away, our boat Wavewalker was in a dangerous position, on the verge of tipping over completely, with its masts nearly horizontal. Then, a powerful wave forcefully brought the boat upright again. In that moment, my lifeline tightened abruptly, and I instinctively grabbed onto the guard rails. I was flung through the air and ended up crashing into Wavewalker's main boom. As more waves came, they tossed me around the deck like a limp doll. The impact was so intense that my left ribs cracked, and my mouth filled with blood from broken teeth. Despite the pain and chaos, I managed to locate the wheel and positioned the stern of the boat to face the oncoming wave. Holding on tightly, I braced myself for whatever would come next.

Para 10

Water, Water, Everywhere. I could feel that the ship had water below, but I dared not abandon the wheel to investigate. Suddenly the front hatch was thrown open and Mary appeared. “We’re sinking!” she screamed. “The decks are smashed; we’re full of water.”

Paraphrase in Easy English

There was water all around us, and I could sense that our ship had water inside it too. However, I was too afraid to leave the wheel and check what was happening. Then, out of nowhere, the front hatch burst open, and Mary, my wife, came into view. She was in a state of panic, screaming, "We're sinking! The decks are destroyed, and our ship is filled with water." Her words confirmed the seriousness of the situation, and it became clear that we were in great danger.

Para 11( Page 15)

“Take the wheel”, I shouted as I scrambled for the hatch

Paraphrase in Easy English

"Take the wheel!" I shouted to Mary as I quickly made my way towards the hatch.

Para 12

Larry and Herb were pumping like madmen. Broken timbers hung at crazy angles, the whole starboard side bulged inwards; clothes, crockery, charts, tins and toys sloshed about in deep water.

Paraphrase in Easy English

Larry and Herb were pumping the water out with great intensity. They worked tirelessly, resembling madmen in their efforts. The ship's structure was severely damaged, with broken pieces of wood hanging at odd angles. The starboard side of the ship was noticeably deformed, bulging inward due to the pressure of the water. Everything inside the ship was in disarray as water filled the compartments. Clothes, dishes, navigation charts, cans, and even toys were floating around in the deep water, creating a chaotic scene.

Para 13

I half-swam, half-crawled into the children’s cabin. “Are you all right?” I asked. “Yes,” they answered from an upper bunk. “But my head hurts a bit,” said Sue, pointing to a big bump above her eyes. I had no time to worry about bumped heads.

Paraphrase in Easy English

I managed to make my way, partly swimming and partly crawling, into the children's cabin. I asked them if they were okay, and they reassured me from the safety of their upper bunk. Sue mentioned that her head hurt a little, indicating a noticeable bump above her eyes. However, in that moment, I didn't have the luxury to worry too much about their minor injuries. There were more pressing matters at hand that required immediate attention.

Para 14

After finding a hammer, screws and canvas, I struggled back on deck. With the starboard side bashed open, we were taking water with each wave that broke over us. If I couldn’t make some repairs, we would surely sink.

Paraphrase in Easy English

After managing to find a hammer, screws, and canvas, I made my way back to the deck, facing the challenging conditions. The starboard side of the ship was severely damaged, leaving us vulnerable to taking in water with every wave that crashed over us. It was clear that if I couldn't make some urgent repairs, our situation would become dire, and there was a high risk of our ship sinking.

Para 15

Somehow I managed to stretch canvas and secure waterproof hatch covers across the gaping holes. Some water continued to stream below, but most of it was now being deflected over the side.

Paraphrase in Easy English

Through sheer determination, I found a way to stretch canvas over the holes and securely fasten waterproof hatch covers to cover the gaps in the ship's structure. While some water still managed to seep through, the majority of it was now being redirected and prevented from entering the ship. The measures I took helped to minimize the amount of water coming on board and improved our chances of staying afloat.

Para 16

More problems arose when our hand pumps started to block up with the debris floating around the cabins and the electric pump short-circuited. The water level rose threateningly. Back on deck I found that our two spare hand pumps had been wrenched overboard — along with the forestay sail, the jib, the dinghies and the main anchor.

Paraphrase in Easy English

To make matters worse, our hand pumps began to clog up due to the debris floating around in the cabins. Additionally, the electric pump malfunctioned and short-circuited, leaving us without a reliable means to pump out the water. As a result, the water level inside the ship started to rise dangerously. Upon returning to the deck, I discovered that our two spare hand pumps had been torn away and thrown overboard, along with other essential items like the forestay sail, the jib, the dinghies, and even the main anchor. This unfortunate turn of events left us in an even more precarious situation, as we now had limited resources to combat the flooding and maintain control of the ship.

Para 17

Then I remembered we had another electric pump under the chartroom floor. I connected it to an out-pipe, and was thankful to find that it worked.

Paraphrase in Easy English

In a moment of recollection, I remembered that we had an additional electric pump stored beneath the chartroom floor. Without wasting any time, I quickly retrieved the pump and connected it to an outlet pipe. Thankfully, when I tested it, the pump turned out to be functional. It was a moment of relief and gratitude, as having this additional working pump meant we now had a better chance of effectively draining the water from the ship and preventing further flooding.

Bonus Info: 
chartroom floor: 
The chartroom floor is a specific area on a ship where the chartroom is located. The chartroom is a room or space on a ship where navigational charts, maps, and other navigation-related equipment and documents are kept. It serves as a central hub for navigation planning and monitoring the ship's course. 

Para 18

The night dragged on with an endless, bitterly cold routine of pumping, steering and working the radio. We were getting no replies to our Mayday calls — which was not surprising in this remote corner of the world.

Paraphrase in Easy English

The night seemed to stretch on endlessly, with a monotonous and bitterly cold routine of pumping out water, steering the ship, and operating the radio. Despite sending out distress signals and calling for help with Mayday calls, we received no responses. This lack of response was not unexpected, considering our remote location in this isolated part of the world. We continued to face the daunting challenges of the situation, battling against the elements and hoping for a breakthrough or assistance to come our way.

Bonus Info:
Mayday calls are distress signals used in radio communications to indicate that a vessel or aircraft is in grave and immediate danger and requires immediate assistance. 

The term "Mayday" comes from the French phrase "m'aider," which means "help me." Mayday calls are transmitted over the radio to alert nearby vessels, aircraft, or coastal authorities that a life-threatening emergency is occurring and that immediate action is needed. 
It is an internationally recognized distress signal and is typically used when there is a risk to human life or the safety of the vessel or aircraft. Mayday calls are taken very seriously, and emergency responders and nearby vessels will do their best to provide assistance and support.

Para 19

Sue’s head had swollen alarmingly; she had two enormous black eyes, and now she showed us a deep cut on her arm. When I asked why she hadn’t made more of her injuries before this, she replied, “I didn’t want to worry you when you were trying to save us all.”

Paraphrase in Easy English

Sue's head had become significantly swollen, which was a cause for alarm. She had two large black eyes, and she showed us a deep cut on her arm. When I questioned why she hadn't mentioned her injuries earlier, she explained that she didn't want to add to our worries while we were focused on trying to save everyone. Her selflessness and concern for our well-being prevented her from drawing attention to her own injuries, as she understood the importance of our collective survival in that critical situation.


Para 20

By morning on January 3, the pumps had the water level sufficiently under control for us to take two hours’ rest in rotation. But we still had a tremendous leak somewhere below the waterline and, on checking, I found that nearly all the boat’s main rib frames were smashed down to the keel. In fact, there was nothing holding up a whole section of the starboard hull except a few cupboard partitions.

Paraphrase in Easy English

By the morning of January 3, the constant pumping had managed to bring the water level to a more manageable state, allowing us to take turns resting for two hours at a time. However, we were still faced with a significant problem as there was a major leak somewhere below the waterline. Upon inspection, I discovered that nearly all of the boat's main rib frames, which provide structural support, were completely destroyed, extending down to the keel. In fact, a substantial section of the starboard hull had nothing left to support it except for a few cupboard partitions. This severe damage to the boat's structure added to the precariousness of our situation and highlighted the urgent need for further repairs to prevent a potential catastrophic failure of the hull.

Para 21( Page 16)

We had survived for 15 hours since the wave hit, but Wavewalker wouldn’t hold together long enough for us to reach Australia. I checked our charts and calculated that there were two small islands a few hundred kilometres to the east. One of them, Ile Amsterdam, was a French scientific base. Our only hope was to reach these pinpricks in the vast ocean. But unless the wind and seas abated so we could hoist sail, our chances would be slim indeed. The great wave had put our auxilliary engine out of action.

Paraphrase in Easy English

After enduring for 15 hours since the devastating wave struck our boat, it became evident that Wavewalker wouldn't hold together long enough for us to make it to Australia. I consulted our charts and identified two small islands located several hundred kilometers to the east. One of them, Ile Amsterdam, was a French scientific base. These islands became our sole glimmer of hope in the vast ocean. However, our chances of reaching them seemed bleak unless the wind and seas calmed down enough for us to raise the sails. Unfortunately, the powerful wave had rendered our auxiliary engine inoperable, further limiting our options and making our situation even more challenging.

Bonus Info:
But unless the wind and seas abated so we could hoist sail, our chances would be slim indeed.
Sailing relies on harnessing the power of the wind to propel the boat forward. If the winds were still fierce and the seas remained rough, it would be incredibly difficult to control the sails effectively and maintain a stable course. 
The boat could be thrown off course by the force of the waves, leading to further damage or even capsizing.
Therefore, our hope hinged on a significant change in the weather—a decrease in wind strength and a calming of the turbulent seas.
If the elements were to relent and provide us with a window of opportunity, we could raise the sails and take advantage of the wind's assistance to steer towards the islands. This would greatly enhance our chances of reaching safety and finding assistance at the French scientific base on Ile Amsterdam.

Para 22

On January 4, after 36 hours of continuous pumping, we reached the last few centimetres of water. Now, we had only to keep pace with the water still coming in. We could not set any sail on the main mast. Pressure on the rigging would simply pull the damaged section of the hull apart, so we hoisted the storm jib and headed for where I thought the two islands were. Mary found some corned beef and cracker biscuits, and we ate our first meal in almost two days.

Paraphrase in Easy English

On January 4, following an exhausting 36 hours of relentless pumping, we finally reached a point where the water level was only a few centimeters deep. At this stage, our primary focus shifted from pumping out water to maintaining a pace that matched the remaining water seeping into the boat. It was a delicate balance to prevent further flooding while keeping the boat afloat.

Due to the severe damage to the main mast and the compromised structural integrity of the hull, it was not possible to set any sail on the main mast. The additional pressure exerted on the rigging would risk tearing apart the already damaged section of the hull. However, we were able to hoist the storm jib, a smaller and more manageable sail, to catch what little wind was available. With the storm jib set, we adjusted our course towards the estimated location of the two islands, aiming to reach safety and assistance.

Amidst the challenging circumstances, a small glimmer of relief came in the form of sustenance. Mary discovered some corned beef and cracker biscuits, providing us with our first proper meal in almost two days. It was a welcome respite, nourishing our bodies and providing a much-needed boost in morale. The simple act of sharing a meal offered a moment of solace and a reminder of our resilience in the face of adversity.

With the storm jib guiding us forward and some nourishment in our bellies, we pressed on, driven by the hope of reaching the islands and finding the help we desperately needed. It was a testament to our determination and resourcefulness as we faced the immense challenges that lay ahead on our journey to survival.

Bonus Info:
We could not set any sail on the main mast. Pressure on the rigging would simply pull the damaged section of the hull apart...
The decision to hoist the storm jib instead of setting sail on the main mast was driven by the critical condition of the damaged section of the hull. With the hull compromised and weakened, any additional pressure on the rigging, such as that caused by larger sails, could potentially lead to further structural damage or even the complete separation of the damaged section from the rest of the boat.

Understanding this risk, we opted to use the storm jib, a smaller sail that exerted less force on the rigging. The storm jib is designed specifically for challenging weather conditions and is more manageable in high winds and rough seas. By hoisting the storm jib, we could utilize what little wind was available to propel the boat forward without putting undue stress on the already weakened structure of the boat.

Para 23

But our respite was short-lived. At 4 p.m. black clouds began building up behind us; within the hour the wind was back to 40 knots and the seas were getting higher. The weather continued to deteriorate throughout the night, and by dawn on January 5, our situation was again desperate.

Paraphrase in Easy English

Unfortunately, the relief we experienced with a meal and the hoisting of the storm jib was abruptly disrupted. At 4 p.m., foreboding black clouds started forming on the horizon behind us. Within a short span of an hour, the wind intensified, reaching speeds of 40 knots, and the waves grew taller and more treacherous. The promising signs of improvement were quickly replaced by a deteriorating weather system.

By the time dawn arrived on January 5, our situation had once again plunged into a state of desperation. We were confronted with the harsh reality that the relentless forces of nature were relentlessly challenging our resolve and the fragile state of our vessel.

Para 24

When I went in to comfort the children, Jon asked, “Daddy, are we going to die?” I tried to assure him that we could make it. “But, Daddy,” he went on, “we aren’t afraid of dying if we can all be together — you and Mummy, Sue and I.”

Paraphrase in Easy English

In a moment of vulnerability, as the storm raged on and uncertainty loomed, I entered the cabin to offer comfort to my children. It was then that my son Jonathan, with innocence and concern in his voice, posed a poignant question: "Daddy, are we going to die?"

Trying to provide reassurance amidst the turmoil, I mustered my strength and expressed my belief that we had the ability to overcome this ordeal. However, Jonathan, with his young wisdom, shared a profound perspective that touched my heart. He expressed that our family's unity and togetherness were more important than the fear of death itself. He, along with his sister Sue, held a conviction that as long as we faced this challenge together, we could find solace and courage.

Para 25

I could find no words with which to respond, but I left the children’s cabin determined to fight the sea with everything I had. To protect the weakened starboard side, I decided to heaveto — with the undamaged port hull facing the oncoming waves, using an improvised sea anchor of heavy nylon rope and two 22 litre plastic barrels of paraffin.

Paraphrase in Easy English

I was at a loss for words, unable to find a suitable response to Jonathan's heartfelt statement. However, his words stirred a determination within me to confront the mighty sea with all my strength and resolve. In order to safeguard the vulnerable starboard side of the boat, I made a decision to adopt a technique called heaving-to. To achieve this, I improvised a sea anchor using a strong nylon rope and attached two large barrels filled with paraffin, each holding 22 liters. This makeshift sea anchor would help us maintain stability and reduce the strain on the damaged side of the boat.

Bonus Info:
To protect the weakened starboard side, I decided to heaveto :
Heaving-to involved positioning the boat in a way that the undamaged port side faced the powerful waves coming towards us.  

...using an improvised sea anchor of heavy nylon rope and two 22 litre plastic barrels of paraffin: 
In order to stabilize our boat and protect the weakened side, I quickly devised a sea anchor using a sturdy nylon rope. To enhance its effectiveness, I attached two sizable barrels filled with paraffin to the anchor. Each barrel held 22 liters of paraffin. This improvised arrangement served as a counterbalance to the force of the waves, helping us maintain control and minimize the strain on the damaged portion of the boat. 

Do you know what a Sea-anchor is? Ans: A sea anchor is a device used in boating to provide stability and control in rough sea conditions. It is typically a large, heavy object or parachute-like device that is attached to a boat and deployed into the water. The purpose of a sea anchor is to create drag, effectively slowing down the boat's drift and helping it maintain a stable position in relation to the waves and wind.

Para 26

That evening, Mary and I sat together holding hands, as the motion of the ship brought more and more water in through the broken planks. We both felt the end was very near.

Paraphrase in Easy English

As the evening progressed, Mary and I found solace in each other's presence. Holding hands tightly, we braced ourselves for the inevitable as the relentless motion of the ship allowed more water to seep in through the damaged planks. With each passing moment, we couldn't ignore the growing certainty that our journey was reaching its final moments. The weight of despair and acceptance settled upon us, as we prepared ourselves for whatever fate awaited us in the face of the overwhelming challenges we faced.

Para 27

But Wavewalker rode out the storm and by the morning of January 6, with the wind easing, I tried to get a reading on the sextant. Back in the chartroom, I worked on wind speeds,changes of course, drift and current in an effort to calculate our position. The best I could determine was that we were somewhere in 150,000 kilometres of ocean looking for a 65 kilometre-wide island.

Paraphrase in Easy English

Despite the intense storm, our resilient vessel, Wavewalker, managed to withstand the turbulent conditions. By the morning of January 6, the wind began to calm down, providing a brief respite. Taking advantage of this lull, I made an attempt to determine our location using a sextant—an instrument used for celestial navigation. Inside the chartroom, I diligently worked on calculating various factors such as wind speeds, changes in course, drift, and currents. My aim was to estimate our position amidst the vast expanse of the ocean, spanning approximately 150,000 kilometers, in search of a relatively small island measuring only 65 kilometers in width. It was a challenging task, but I strived to make the best possible estimation to guide our journey towards safety.

Do you know what a drift is in sea navigation? In the context of the ship voyage, "drift" refers to the movement of the ship caused by external forces such as wind, waves, and ocean currents. It is the sideways motion of the ship due to these factors. By observing the drift, the navigator can assess the influence of these forces on the ship's course and make adjustments accordingly.

Para 28

While I was thinking, Sue, moving painfully, joined me. The left side of her head was now very swollen and her blackened eyes narrowed to slits. She gave me a card she had made.

Paraphrase in Easy English

As I pondered our situation, Sue, in a state of discomfort, came over to join me. The injuries she had sustained were visibly worsening, with the left side of her head significantly swollen and her bruised eyes almost closed. Despite her pain, she handed me a homemade card that she had crafted.

Para 29

On the front she had drawn caricatures of Mary and me with the words: “Here are some funny people. Did they make you laugh? I laughed a lot as well.” Inside was a message: “Oh, how I love you both. So this card is to say thank you and let’s hope for the best.” Somehow we had to make it.

Paraphrase in Easy English

On the front of the card, Sue had sketched amusing caricatures of Mary and me, accompanied by the caption, "Here are some funny people. Did they make you laugh? I laughed a lot as well." Inside, a heartfelt message expressed her deep love for both of us. The card served as a thank-you gesture and a symbol of hope for better outcomes. Despite our challenging circumstances, we were determined to persevere and find a way to survive.


Para 30

I checked and rechecked my calculations. We had lost our main compass and I was using a spare which had not been corrected for magnetic variation. I made an allowance for this and another estimate of the influence of the westerly currents which flow through this part of the Indian Ocean.

Paraphrase in Easy English

I carefully reviewed and double-checked my calculations. Unfortunately, our main compass was no longer functional, so I relied on a spare compass that hadn't been adjusted for magnetic variation. Taking this into account, I made necessary adjustments and also factored in the impact of the westerly currents that are present in this region of the Indian Ocean. It was crucial to consider these variables in order to estimate our approximate position and navigate our way forward.

Para 31

About 2 p.m., I went on deck and asked Larry to steer a course of 185 degrees. If we were lucky, I told him with a conviction I did not feel, he could expect to see the island at about 5 p.m.

Paraphrase in Easy English

Around 2 p.m., I went on deck and instructed Larry to steer a course of 185 degrees. I tried to sound optimistic, assuring him that if luck was on our side, he might catch sight of the island around 5 p.m. However, deep down, I lacked the same conviction that I projected. Our hopes hinged on reaching the island within the given timeframe, but the outcome remained uncertain.

Para 32

Then with a heavy heart, I went below, climbed on my bunk and amazingly, dozed off. When I woke it was 6 p.m., and growing dark. I knew we must have missed the island, and with the sail we had left, we couldn’t hope to beat back into the westerly winds.

Paraphrase in Easy English

Feeling despondent, I reluctantly descended below deck and settled onto my bunk. Surprisingly, exhaustion overcame me, and I drifted into a deep slumber. When I finally awoke, it was already 6 p.m., and the darkness was descending upon us. I realized with a sinking feeling that we must have passed the island, and considering the limited sail remaining, it was impossible for us to navigate against the strong westerly winds. Our situation seemed increasingly dire.

Para 33

At that moment, a tousled head appeared by my bunk. “Can I have a hug?” Jonathan asked. Sue was right behind him.

Paraphrase in Easy English

In that very moment, a disheveled head popped up next to my bunk. "Can I get a hug?" Jonathan, my son, asked. Right behind him was Sue, my daughter, seeking solace as well.

Para 34-39

“Why am I getting a hug now?” I asked.

“Because you are the best daddy in the whole world — and the best captain,” my son replied.

“Not today, Jon, I’m afraid.”

“Why, you must be,” said Sue in a matter-of-fact voice. “You found the island.”

“What!” I shouted.

“It’s out there in front of us,” they chorused, “as big as a battleship.”

Paraphrase in Easy English

"Why am I getting a hug now?" I asked, confused by their sudden affection.

"Because you are the best daddy in the whole world—and the best captain," my son replied.

"Not today, Jon, I'm afraid," I said, feeling defeated.

"Why, you must be," said Sue in a matter-of-fact voice. "You found the island."

"What!" I exclaimed, taken aback.

"It's out there in front of us," they both said in unison, "as big as a battleship."

Para 40

I rushed on deck and gazed with relief at the stark outline of Ile Amsterdam. It was only a bleak piece of volcanic rock, with little vegetation — the most beautiful island in the world!

Paraphrase in Easy English

I hurriedly made my way to the deck and looked out in a mix of relief and joy at the unmistakable silhouette of Ile Amsterdam. It may have been a desolate and barren volcanic rock, with sparse vegetation, but to me, it was the most magnificent and beautiful island in the entire world.

Para 41

We anchored offshore for the night, and the next morning all 28 inhabitants of the island cheered as they helped us ashore.

Paraphrase in Easy English

We dropped anchor at a safe distance from the shore and spent the night there. The following morning, to our delight, we were greeted by the enthusiastic cheers of all 28 residents of the island. They eagerly assisted us in coming ashore, providing us with a warm and welcoming reception.

Para 42

With land under my feet again, my thoughts were full of Larry and Herbie, cheerful and optimistic under the direst stress, and of Mary, who stayed at the wheel for all those crucial hours. Most of all, I thought of a seven-year-old girl, who did not want us to worry about a head injury (which subsequently took six minor operations to remove a recurring blood clot between skin and skull), and of a six-year-old boy who was not afraid to die.

Paraphrase in Easy English

As I stood on solid ground once more, my mind was filled with gratitude and admiration for Larry and Herbie, who remained positive and hopeful throughout the most challenging moments. I couldn't help but reflect on Mary's unwavering determination as she steered the ship during those critical hours. Above all, my thoughts were consumed by the bravery of my seven-year-old daughter, who shielded us from her head injury, which later required multiple surgeries, and my six-year-old son, who faced the prospect of death without fear. Their strength and resilience left a profound impact on me.


Para 1-2
  • In July 1976, the narrator with his wife Mary, son Jonathan and daughter Suzanne set sail from Plymouth, England, to repeat a round-the –world voyage, which Captain James Cook had made 200 years earlier.

  • For about 16 years, the captain and his wife spent all their leisure time sharpening their sea-faring skills by travelling in British seas.

  • The boat ‘Wavewalker’-23 metres long and weighing 30 tonnes, with a beautiful wooden structure was professionally built, and they took months to fit and teat it in the roughest weather.


  • Voyage: journey on the sea

  • in the wake of : following closely behind or as a result of

  • honing: sharpening

  • seafaring skills: specific knowledge, abilities, and expertise required to navigate and operate a vessel at sea. These skills encompass a wide range of competencies necessary for safe and effective maritime travel.

  • hulled: the framework of a ship

Bonus Info:  
Seafaring skills refer to the specific knowledge, abilities, and expertise required to navigate and operate a vessel at sea. These skills encompass a wide range of competencies necessary for safe and effective maritime travel.

Some key seafaring skills include:

1. Navigation: The ability to determine a ship's position, plan routes, and navigate using charts, compasses, GPS systems, and other navigational instruments.

2. Seamanship: Proficiency in handling and maneuvering a vessel, including knowledge of sailing techniques, understanding wind and weather patterns, and executing tasks such as anchoring, mooring, and docking.

3. Maritime Communication: Effective communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal, necessary for maintaining contact with other ships, shore authorities, and crew members. This includes understanding and using maritime communication protocols and equipment, such as radios and signaling devices.

4. Safety and Emergency Procedures: Knowledge of safety protocols, emergency response plans, and lifesaving techniques to ensure the well-being of the crew and passengers in the event of accidents, storms, or other emergencies at sea.

5. Maintenance and Repair: Skills related to the maintenance and repair of essential equipment and systems aboard a ship, including engines, navigation instruments, electrical systems, and safety equipment.

6. Weather Interpretation: The ability to interpret weather forecasts, understand weather patterns, and make informed decisions regarding route planning and vessel operations based on current and projected weather conditions.

7. Leadership and Teamwork: Effective leadership and teamwork skills are vital for coordinating and managing a crew, delegating tasks, resolving conflicts, and maintaining a positive and efficient working environment onboard.

8. Knowledge of International Regulations: Familiarity with international maritime laws, regulations, and conventions, such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards, to ensure compliance with safety, security, and environmental requirements.

These are just a few examples of the diverse range of skills required for seafaring. Developing and honing these skills is crucial for sailors, ship captains, and other maritime professionals to operate vessels safely and effectively while navigating the challenges of the open sea.

  • The first leg of their planned three year long journey which consisted of 1,05,000 kms ended safely. They sailed down the west coast of Africa to Cape Town.

  • In their journey they hired two crewmen-an American named Larry Vigil and a Swiss named Herb Seigler. These two men would help them to tackle one of the roughest seas- Southern Indian Ocean.


  • First leg: first part of the journey.

  • tackle: deal with a difficult situation.

Para 4-6
  • On the second day, they encountered strong gales when they came out of Cape Town.

  • The gales continued for weeks with the waves going up to 15 meteres, as high as their main mast.

  • On December 25, they were 3500 kms away and had a wonderful time celebrating Christmas in spite of having rough weather.

  • On January 2nd the waves were gigantic and they had put up only a small sail in the front part of the ship.

  • When the ship rose to the top of each wave, they could see the endless huge sea rolling towards them. In order to slow down the speed , they dropped the storm jib.

  • They secured everything tightly with the ropes, did their life raft drill, made life lines ready, put on oilskins and life jackets and took extreme precaution to ride over the waves.


  • encounter : meet unexpectedly or be faced with

  • gales : very strong wind

  • mast: tall upright post on a boat, carrying a sail or sails

  • atrocious: horrible or dreadful.

  • gigantic: huge, enormous

  • storm jib: a triangular sail in front of a mast.

  • mast: A mast is a tall, vertical pole or spar that is an integral part of a sailing vessel.

Bonus Info: 
A mast is typically made of wood, aluminum, or steel and is used to support the sails and rigging of the ship. The mast plays a vital role in providing structural support and stability to the vessel, as well as facilitating the control and manipulation of the sails to harness the wind for propulsion.
  • knots: units of speed used by ship

  • enormous: very large.

  • screaming of the wind : howling and screeching of strong wind over the sea

  • spray: liquid sent through air in tiny drops

  • lashed: beat against something : fastening a boat to an anchor

  • mooring: shape produced by a curve that bends round and crosses itself.

  • loop: A mooring loop is a type of knot or loop used to secure a vessel to a dock, buoy, or another fixed object. Mooring loops allow the ship to be fastened securely while docked or anchored.

  • Stern : the rear of a ship or boat

  • life-raft: a life raft is an inflatable ( expanded by filling air or gas) and self-contained emergency device designed to provide buoyancy and refuge for people in the event of an emergency or abandonment of the ship. It serves as a means of survival and rescue for individuals in situations where staying aboard the vessel is no longer safe or possible.

Bonus info: In the context of a life raft, providing buoyancy means the ability of the raft to float and support the weight of occupants and equipment on the surface of the water. Buoyancy is the upward force exerted by a fluid, such as water, on an object immersed in it. It counteracts the force of gravity and allows the life raft to stay afloat.

lifelines: a rope or line thrown to rescue someone .

donned oilskins: "donned oilskins" refer to the act of putting on oilskin garments or protective clothing made from oil-treated fabric. Oilskins are waterproof or water-resistant clothing typically worn by sailors and seafarers to protect themselves from the harsh elements, such as rain, wind, and sea spray, while working on deck or in wet conditions.

Bonus Info: 
Donning oilskins is a common practice in maritime settings, especially during stormy or rainy weather, when crew members need to maintain their comfort and protect themselves from the potential risks associated with being exposed to cold and wet conditions for prolonged periods.
By wearing oilskins, sailors and seafarers can stay dry, retain body heat, and continue their duties onboard the ship without being hampered by the weather. Oilskins are an essential part of the protective gear worn by individuals working on ships or engaged in maritime activities.
Para 7-9
  • At about 6 pm there was a dreadful silence. The wind stopped blowing and the sky grew dark. With a growing roar, huge cloud towered over the ship. With horror, they realized that it was not cloud but a huge wave.

  • A dreadful explosion shook the deck and a torrent of water broke over the ship.

  • The writer’s head smashed into the steering wheel. He was losing consciousness, but felt quite peaceful. A few metres away, Wave walker was near capsizing.

  • Waves tossed the captain around the deck, his left ribs cracked and teeth were broken. His mouth was filled with blood, but he somehow hung on to the wheel.

  • impending: just about to happen.

  • ominous: threatening

  • towered: rose to or reached a greater height.

  • aft: at or towards the rear of a ship.

  • breaking crest: top of a wave breaking on the ship.

Bonus Info: 
 "breaking crest" refers to the turbulent and frothy upper portion of a wave that is in the process of breaking or collapsing. When waves become steep and unstable due to factors such as strong winds, opposing currents, or shallow water, they can reach a point where they break, leading to the formation of a breaking crest.
The breaking crest is the highest part of the wave, characterized by the curling and foaming action as the wave energy is dissipated and the wave collapses forward. It is where the wave's momentum is disrupted, causing it to lose its regular shape and transform into a turbulent mass of white water.
  • flying overboard: fly from the ship into the water.

  • popped : came out quickly.

  • capsizing: overturning in water.

  • hurled: threw with great force.

  • guard rails: metal horizontal bars put as protection.

  • main boom: the main pole to which the foot of the ship's sail is attached.

  • rag doll: soft toy or doll made from cloth or fabric scraps.

  • ribs: curved bones round the chest.

PARA 10 TO 15
  • There was water everywhere on the ship. But he could not dare to leave the steering wheel and go sown to investigate.

  • Mary appeared from the front hatch and announced in great alarm that they were sinking. The lower decks have smashed allowing the water to sip through.

  • Larry and Herb were pumping out water like madmen.. Clothes, crockery, charts, tins and toys lay scattered and floating on water.

  • The captain half swam and half crawled into the children’s cabin. Sue had a big bump over her eyes.

  • With a hammer, screws and canvas, he struggled back on the deck to make repairs on starboard side through which water was entering with every wave. Somehow, he managed to cover the gaping holes with canvas and water proof hatch covers.

  • abandon: give up

  • front hatch scrambled: the hatch, which is an opening on the ship's deck leading to the lower compartments, might have been disarranged or damaged, possibly due to rough weather conditions or a significant impact.

  • starboard: right hand side of a ship.

  • bashed open: opened violently with a knock or blow.

PARA 16-19
  • The electric pump went out of order due to a short circuit. With a spare pump connected to outer pipe, they managed to drain water out.

  • The night dragged on in a routine of pumping, steering and sending radio signals.

  • The Mayday calls were in vain as there was no response from the other end.

  • Sue’s swelling got worse, and a deep cut on her arms was also prominent.

  • debris: rubbish, garbage

  • wrenched: twisted and pulled with force.

  • forestay: a rope or cable reaching from a ship's foremast to the bowsprit, for supporting the foremast.

  • dinghies: small open boats or inflatable rubber boats

  • main anchor: a heavy metal structure for securing a ship to the sea bottom.

Para 20-21
  • The boat’s rib frames were smashed. The whole section of the starboard frame had nothing to hold it up except for a few cardboard partitions.

  • They knew that the Wavewalker would not hold them long enough to reach Australia. The captain checked their charts and calculated that there were two small islands nearby towards their east.

  • They planned to reach one of the islands, named Ile Amsterdam, which was a French Scientific base. That could be possible if the winds dropped and they could put up their sails.

  • The great wave had already put the supporting engine out of order.

  • keel: timber or steel structure along the base of a ship.

  • Pinpricks: small or tiny islands or land masses that appear as very small dots or points on a vast expanse of water.

Para 22
  • They could not put any sail on the main mast for the fear of it being torn down. So they hosted only the storm jib and headed for the islands.

  • Mary found some meat and biscuits, and they took their first meal in two days.

  • rigging: ropes used to support a ship's mast or sails.

Para 23-26
  • The sense of relief was short lived as the weather worsened through the night creating an alarming situation again the next dawn.

  • Jonathan asked his father whatever they were going to die. But Jon said firmly that they were not afraid of dying if they were all together.

  • The narrator was speechless and left the cabin with a strong determination to fight the sea with all his might.

  • The narrator sat holding Mary’s hand that evening as the motion of the ship brought in more and more water through the broken planks. Both of them felt their impending death.

  • heave: pull or lift with great effort.

  • port hull: the left side of the body of a ship.

  • improvised: makeshift arrangement.

  • paraffin: wax

  • planks: long flat pieces of timer.

Para 27-29
  • On the morning of 6th January, the wind had ceased and Wavewalker rode out of the story.

  • The narrator went to the chart room and concluded that they were looking for a 65 km wide island in the vast 1,50,000 kilometres of ocean.

  • While the narrator and his wife were busy making calculations, Sue came to them with a swollen head on the left side and her eyes had narrowed to slits.

  • Sue expressed her love for her parents with a cared where she had written how much she loved them both.

  • Her spirit strengthened their determination to fight the turbulent sea and come out of it safely.

  • sextant: a navigational instrument used to determine the angle between celestial objects, such as the sun, moon, stars, and horizon.

  • slits: narrow , straight opening

  • caricatures: an exaggerated portrayal of a person for comic effect.

Para 30 40

  • They had lost the main compass and had to manage with a spare one which was not corrected for magnetic variations.

  • At about 2 pm he inspected the deck and instructed Larry to steer the ship at 185 degrees.

  • They became hopeful of discovering ill Amsterdam by 5 in the evening.

  • Around 6 pm Jonathan with Sue behind appeared beside the narrator’s bunk and asked for a hug to his father. He then told his father that he was the best father in the world and the best captain.

  • They have Ile Amsterdam and the narrator rushed to the deck to confirm it. It was a bleak piece of volcanic rock with very little vegetation. Yet it seemed to be the most beautiful place on earth.

  • conviction: firm belief

  • dozed off: a state of a short light sleep.

  • beat back: overcome

  • tousled: ruffled

  • bleak: dull, dreary.

Para 41-42

  • They anchored off the ship for the night. The next morning all twenty-eight inhabitants of the island cheered them and took them ashore.

  • On landing his feet on the island the narrator recounted the hard work of Larry and Herbie and his wife, who have all displayed the team work and worked optimistically even under extreme stress.

  • He thought of Sue the little seven year old girl, who endured the pain of the terrible injury for which she underwent six minor operations to remove recurring blood clot and Jonathan, who displayed amazing resilience in braving impending death.


  • direst: utomost, exgtreme

  • recurring: occurring again and again

  • clot: thick, semi solid mass especially of blood.


  • The story "We're Not Afraid to Die... if We Can All Be Together" conveys a powerful and inspiring message about the strength of unity, resilience, and the indomitable human spirit in the face of adversity.

  • At its core, the story emphasizes the importance of sticking together and supporting one another during challenging times. The family in the story faces unimaginable trials as they navigate treacherous waters and encounter life-threatening situations. However, their unwavering commitment to each other and their refusal to abandon one another serves as a driving force that enables them to endure.

  • The story showcases the power of unity, emphasizing that when individuals join forces and work together, they become stronger and more capable of overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The family's determination to stay together and face their struggles as a cohesive unit highlights the profound impact of solidarity and mutual support.

  • Additionally, the story underscores the significance of resilience and the refusal to succumb to despair. Despite facing numerous life-threatening challenges, the family members in the story exhibit extraordinary courage and tenacity. They refuse to give up or lose hope, even in the face of overwhelming odds. Their unwavering spirit sends a powerful message that perseverance and a refusal to be defeated can lead to triumph in the most dire circumstances.

  • Furthermore, the story emphasizes the enduring power of love and family bonds. The deep affection and commitment shared among the family members serve as a guiding light throughout their journey. Their love for one another becomes a source of strength and motivation, inspiring them to keep fighting and to never lose sight of their ultimate goal.

  • Ultimately, the message of "We're Not Afraid to Die... if We Can All Be Together" is one of resilience, unity, and the extraordinary capacity of the human spirit. It reminds readers that, even in the face of immense challenges, there is hope and strength in togetherness.

  • The story serves as a powerful testament to the triumph of the human will and the enduring power of love and unity in the face of adversity.

NCERT Solution:

Understanding the Text ( Page 18)

1. List the steps taken by the captain

(i)To protect the ship when rough weather began.

Ans: (i) The captain took the following steps to protect the ship when rough weather began

a) He decided to lower the speed of the boat.

b) The storm jib was dropped.

c) Heavy ropes were tied across the stern.

d) They went through their life-raft drill.

e) They put on oilskins and life jackets.

(ii) to check the flooding of the water in the ship

a) He took the hammer, screw and canvas and struggled t make repairs.

b) He stretched the canvas and waterproof hatch covers across the gaping holes.

c) Most of the water was now deflected over the sides.

d) Spare hand pumps and an electric ump were put to work to pump out water.

2.Describe the mental condition of the voyagers on 4 and 5 January.

Ans: On January 4, there was some respite initially as water level in the ship receded. They had to pump out water still coming in with every wave. They had their first meal in two days. But in the evening, black clouds built up and waves rose higher and higher.

On Jan 5 the situation got worse as the narrator and his family were pretty certain that they would die. The narrator’s seven-year-old daughter, Sue, said that they were not afraid to die if they all could be together. These words strengthened the captain’s resolve to fight the sea with renewed hope.

Q3. Describe the shifts in the narration of the events as indicated in the three sections of the text. Give a subtitle to each section.

Section 1 ( Starting a Voyage)

  • The first section deals with the description of the preparation and beginning of a voyage round the world.

  • A 37-yr-old business man, the captain, with his wife and two children started on a voyage to duplicate round the world tour.

  • Their boat ‘Wavewalker’ was professionally built and tested in rough weather.

  • They began in July 1976 and had a pleasant sail till Cape Town from where two crewmen, an American and a Swiss joined them to help them tackle rough southern Indian Ocean.

  • Trouble started when they left Cape Town and gigantic waves hit them on Jan 2.

Section 2 ( Surviving the Struggles)

  • The second section deals with struggle for survival. Strong gales and waves have struck the Wavewalker.

  • The Captain was injured along with his little daughter. He managed to go on with repairs and replacements.

  • Continuous pumping of water prevented the Wavewalker from sinking.

  • This section also describes the emotional turmoil that the children underwent and their courage and cooperation kept inspiring their parents to fight the sea.

Section 3 ( Restoration of Hope)

  • The third section brought a sense of relief to the crew and everybody inside the ship.

  • They were finally able to reach Ile Amsterdam, a tiny island in the vast ocean.

  • They anchored their ship on reaching the island in the evening. The next morning all twenty-eight inhabitants of the island cheered and welcomed them in the island.

Talking About the Text (Page 18)

Question 1: What difference did you notice between the reaction of the adults and the children when faced with danger?

Answer: The adults felt the stress of the circumstances but prepared themselves to face the dangers. They took sufficient precautions to protect the ship when the rough weather began. They equipped everyone with lifelines, water proof clothes, and life jackets. Larry and Herb worked cheerfully and optimistically for three days continuously to pump out water from the ship. Mary replaced the narrator at the wheel when the deck was smashed, and steered the ship. She also served them meal after two days of struggle against odds. The narrator performed his role as captain with courage, determination, resourcefulness and full responsibility. He undertook repair work and provided apparatus and directions needed to protect the ship. He also helped in steering the ship towards the island.

The children suffered silently and patiently. Sue had a big bump over her eyes. Sue’s swelling got worse, and a deep cut on her arms was also prominent. Jonathan asked his father if they were going to die. But Jon said firmly that they were not afraid of dying if they were all together.

Sue expressed her love for her parents with a cared where she had written how much she loved them both. Her spirit strengthened their determination to fight the turbulent sea and come out of it safely.

Question 2: How does the story suggest the optimism helps to “endure the direst stress’’.

Answer: The story is the living example of how optimism helps human beings endure the direst stress. Larry Vigil and Herb Seigler were two crewmen. As the mighty waves smashed the deck, water entered the ship through many holes and openings. Right from the evening of January 2, Larry and Herb started pumping out water. They worked continuously, excitedly and feverishly for 36 hours. It was a result of their continuous pumping that they reached the last few centimetres of water on January 4. They remained cheerful and optimistic while facing extremely dangerous situations.

The narrator also fought the sea head-on and displayed the presence of mind during the crisis. He did not worry about the loss of equipment. He used whatever was available there. His self-confidence and practical knowledge helped them to steer out of storm and reach the Ile Amsterdam. Mary stayed at the wheel for all those crucial hours. She did not lose hope or courage either.

Question 3: What lessons do we learn from such hazardous experiences when we are face to face with death?

Answer: Hazardous experience is like a teacher who equips us with the challenges of life. The tale of life is replete with sweetness and sour. We must encounter life’s challenges with fortitude and courage. Adversity is the true test of character. The purity of gold is judged by putting it in fire. The hazardous experiences bring out the best in us. Coward persons die many times before their death. Fear is a negative feeling and leads to inactivity and abject surrender to circumstances. Such sailors or soldiers lose the battle against the odds in life. On the other hand, persons with self-confidence, courage, resourcefulness and presence of mind face all the dangers boldly and overcome all disasters. Their sharing and caring attitude inspires others also to face the adverse circumstances boldly and tide over them.

Question 4: Why do you think people undertake such adventurous expeditions in spite of the risks involved?

Answer: The greater the adventure, the more thrilled it is. The thrill of exploring unknown lands, discovering wealth and beauty lying hidden in far off lands inspires brave hearts to stake their life of rest and repose. Perhaps they value one crowded hour of glory more than a long uneventful life of sloth and inactivity. It is true that sometimes adventures are quite risky and prove fatal. The failures of some persons do not discourage the real lovers of adventure. They draw lessons from the shortcomings and errors of others and make fresh attempts with greater zeal. Part of the charm of an adventurous expedition lies in adapting oneself to the circumstances and overcoming the odds. The success of an adventurous expedition brings name, fame and wealth. History books are replete with accounts of famous explorers like Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Captain Cook and Captain Scott.

Extra Short Questions

Q.1. What preparations were made by the narrator before their round the world Voyage?

Ans. The writer wanted to go around the world voyage as captain James Cook had done about 200 years earlier. For about 16 years, both he and his wife used to spend all their free time in improving their sailing skills on the British sea. They made a 23 m long boat wave walker, with great skill. They tested it in the roughest weather. Finally, the started their Voyage in July 1976.

Q.2. How did the first leg of the journey pass? What happened to them immediately after they left?

Ans. The first leg of the journey was from Plymouth (England) to Cape Town (Southernmost trip of Africa). It was a journey of 1,05,000 kilometres. It passed quite pleasantly. But after leaving Cape Town, they had to face strong gale.

Q3. How does the author describe Wave walker?

Ans. Wave walker was the name given to the narrator's boat. It was professionally built. It was a 23-metre long, wooden-hulled 30-ton boat. The narrator spent months fitting it out and testing it in the roughest weather.

Q.4. What did the travellers find at dawn on 2 January and what preparation did the make?

Ans. On this dawn, the waves were gigantic. The ship rose to the top of each wave that came their way. There was fear of shipwreck. So they made all possible preparations to save the ship and themselves as follows :

1. They dropped the storm jib to slow down ship.

2. They secured everything rightly.

3. The attached lifelines to the life-rafts.

4. They put on their oilskins and life-jackets.

Q.5. "We are not afraid to die." Who speaks the words and when?

Ans. The narrator' Son Jonathan, 6 years old, made this remark when his father went in to comfort the children. "But Daddy," he went on, "We are n't afraid of dying if we can all be together- you and mummy, She and I".

Q.6. How did she make her father laugh when the situation was almost hopeless?

Ans. The situation was hopeless and the parents were still tense. She made a card and drew their caricatures, laugh. The card also thanked them and gave a message of hope.

CBE-Based Questions will be updated soon.



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