Lost at Sea

in life •  2 years ago

The Sea is Life and Life is the Sea

My whole life is connected with the sea. I grew up on the coast of the White Sea, and I was always attracted by this boundless expanse of the ocean, watching through binoculars that were bigger than my head. When I was a child, I dreamed that someday I could conquer the endless sea. At that time, I had no idea where I would go and what it meant "to conquer the ocean."

The Endless Sea

Whistling, noise, darkness, punch, someone’s terrible cry, so frightening that ears are pawned. Another punch, feels like you climb up a 15 meter high hill and fall off from it harshly. One more time, yet another time, with 10 seconds frequency. It’s like tossing during the most terrible storm, in which I became lost. A 12 point storm has a wind speed of more.

A Mother’s Heart

It was a usual, warm fall day. Everybody from our friendly crew of the “Pioneer” steamship (or steemship, if you all prefer ;)) was about to finish fixing deck cargo ropes. We had to make the transition from Arkhangelsk (Russia) to Alexandria (Egypt) with a cargo of timber on board. I will remember that day for the rest of my life.

In our town where we departed from, vessels could only leave at 4 am, when draw bridges are being raised. Therefore, after fixing timber with ropes, our captain let us go home, so we could spend time with loved ones.

I was already on a 7 month marine contract and meeting with relatives was like a holiday! I remember that day, when I said goodbye to my mother; she was hugging me long and tight and did not want me to go on the voyage. The mother's heart always feels everything. Take care of your parents!

Bridge opening, one last look at my town, and we put out to sea ahead of a two-week transition from the White Sea to the Mediterranean. The sea water is like a clean, endless mirror. There's just you, the sea, and a long trail of foam left by the propeller of our ship.

Listless Days

Life on the ship during this transition is similar to the life of a small town, where many processes take place in a clear sequence. Delicious food is being prepared, the ropes that hold goods are being tightened, somebody is sleeping, some keep watch on the captain’s bridge and in the engine room.

People in white shirts are looking into the distance through binoculars, dreaming to get back to their wives and children. Some are engaged in documentation and laying of the ship’s course, some people paint and someone batters. Boatswain runs for cadets who have done something wrong.

In the evening, everyone sits in the dining room, telling each other stories, naval cadets listen carefully and believe every word. Although marine wolves can simply dream up half of their stories. It’s all about special romance. The ship is a living organism, with all the pieces working together in tandem. Everything and everybody flows, moves, and operates with the rhythm of the ship.

A Break in the Monotony

It was the 4th day of our journey from one part of the world to another. We were a little ahead of our schedule and our captain (he’s called Master or dad on ships) decided to stay and play a few drills. Almost the entire crew changed when we arrived at the home port. They were replaced by new people who have come from vacation.
Everyone should know their precise role, when there is something unexpected, so these exercises are very necessary. Therefore, Master initiated the alarm to check the actions of all the beginners. Alarm was a "man overboard". For this alarm, a part of the crew gets into the lifeboat, descends into the sea, and goes to rescue the person.

I was working as a mechanic, and my job was to sit in a boat and to control the engine of the lifeboat. As we stood on the deck, the wind began to blow a little. We went down to the boat; there were only three of us. The wind increased steadily. We lowered the boat into the water and sailed about 100 meters from the ship and, suddenly, an unrealistic, powerful whistling wind bumped and began to turn into a real storm.

The Gathering Storm

In the open ocean, five-meter storm waves can be formed within 30 minutes, and these storm waves formed and began to pick up more steam before my very eyes in that short time frame! When we returned to the steamer on our small boat, the waves had reached nearly 5 meters high. As our craft returned, we became way too close the main ship, and the boat I was navigating nearly became pinned by the huge side of the ship!

I just turned 22, and this was (and still is!) the most horrific moment of my life. The huge 200 meter, multi-ton ship rolled on a two-meter wave while I was still in the 2-meter lifeboat, and then crushed our small vessel, breaking and grinding it to bits. The ocean draws you into the void like a small sliver. No one and nothing can help you at this moment. We were thrown from side to side, our hands were stained with blood, but we were still able to drag the boat winched back on board of the ship. I thought it was hell on Earth.

At some point after we managed to return to the ship, the captain filmed the beginning of the storm. I was too dazed to know when the filming began. You can see how terrifying it was!

I climbed up on the ship, lay on my back, breathed deeply, and looked at the sky. I did not hear or see. There was only me, the sky, and the sea. I do not remember how we ended up in the cabin, all of us were shaking. A laptop was rolling head over heels on the floor and broken to pieces. All I remember is the unbearable pitching of the ship, the noises, the vibrations, and the screams of the crew.

If the ship leans to the right a little more, we will overturn. A deafening, heartrending crash is heard - ropes busted, which were fastened to the cargo deck, slipping into the sea. The cargo clasped to the the crane cable and pulls it taut. The multi-ton crane boom broke down and turned toward the ship tilt, thereby further increasing the tilt of the ship.

Even a little bit, and we would be done for. Another crackling noise. The feeling is that with such a strong bank, you could safely stand on the wall. With your feet off the ground, the sea throws you up to the side of the ship and all the furniture and anything not fastened are rolling on you.

Fighting for Survival

Lights turn off and silence comes .... I thought it was the last minute of my life. After all, if a ship loses its course and if the engine is stopped, then the wind and waves are deploying it in just few minutes and it flips.
You cannot be saved from an overturned ship. A snowball has a better chance in hell. No one would ever have time to rescue you. All rescue devices are no help at that moment. For hundreds and thousands of miles there is nobody!

We lost the course 3 times, the engine was stopped, but because of the concerted action of the crew the engine was started again, we fought back, and we struggled fighting for our life. That chopper of a storm continued for 70 hours of hell. No food, no sleep, everybody fought for the survival of the ship and its crew.

One sailor suffered a panic attack, he wanted to throw off the stern into the sea, could not bear it longer. He was tied to the bed and all the while he shouted hoarsely. Imagine what it was like.

The storm ceased as abruptly as it had begun. It ended while I was smoking a cigarette, holding it by bandaged fingers, and I tore the note I was writing to my mother if the worst case of being lost at sea were to be realized …

Later, when we made it back, my mother told me that she felt that something terrible was happening to me. Even though I was 1000 kilometers away, she could not sleep. It’s strange to think about the connection that a mother has with her child in moments such as these.

Red Sea at Night ...

At such moments, you become an adult, you start to appreciate every moment of life. Your time hasn’t come yet.I do not regret anything. It has brought me to whom I am now. Always move to the wind, storms and trials. If you turn your back you lose. Only forward! Full speed ahead!

All is over. All is well.

*Disclaimer : I am not a native English speaker. An anonymous member of the community helped me with some of the English. I hope you enjoyed my story!*

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nice sunset.
Keep do more post, its cool :)


ur welcome :)

Only the strongest can do it.
Scary video!

nice post, keep doin it, best wishes from croatia


I was reading and shaking as moving to the end of the story. Can't even imagine how scary it's to be there in the midst of the ocean with no help and try to save your life and the ship. Great story, bro. You've been to many stuff in your life I guess, it made you a man of steel.


Yes, you're right to say! thank you

Wow that was engaging!
I'm surfing through steemit to find some maritime stories, so cool to see another sailor here
Ahoy Maxim!

I don't normally make it through to the end of story type posts, but this one captivated me. +1


yes thank you ! I'm glad you liked it !

Wow. What an amazing tale. I hope you have more!


Yes! Thank you! this is only the beginning! will continue to be even more interesting

Nice @maximkichev
Shot you an Upvote :)