The Sea and its moods

Essay by mezabin February 2009

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Never before did I envisage boarding a ship on my own free will. It was cloudless and beautiful. The perfect day to attempt to get over my fear of this vast ocean filled with deadly sea creatures. As I gazed out to the fishing vessels far beyond the shark nets my view was obstructed by the majestic seagulls that flew so low over the shimmering water. They darted toward the glistening surface hoping for a naïve fish to swim too close to their open mouth as if they were miners searching for diamonds in the colossal Kimberley mining pit. Someone shouted out my name and it rolled around the waves and came echoing back at me like a thousand people encouraging me to enter the ancient Roman arenas to face my death.

The ship was huge, almost palatial. The ascent up the narrow flight of stairs seemed endless and when I finally reached my destination, I wished I had never agreed to it.

The sea far below glared eerily up at me green and sinister. It tossed the ship as if it were a rubber duck in a child’s bath. What appeared moments ago to be beautiful and serene had turned into a beast that liked to play with its food before slowly squeezing the life out of it? The sea seemed to be taunting me, assessing how long I would last if I were thrown into its merciless clutch. With fear in my bone and terror in my eyes, I moved into the depths of the ship, hoping to forget that below me was certain death.

Even though I was sitting on plush velvet, I could feel the ship rocking back and forth on the rushing waves. Suddenly everyone rose and headed toward the hull of the ship. I had no choice but to follow as images of the Titanic’s dining area filled with water and people tried in vain to stay above the level of the sea captured my thoughts. On board, with the stars twinkling up above like an infinite number of lighthouses leading our way and the angry swishing of the waves below, I was confused. I did not know if I should admire the beauty or be afraid of the dark water below me.

The sea tossed and turned, impatiently beating a rhythm against the sides of the ship. I stood mesmerized, watching the waves come and go. I was unable to sleep as the unsteady motion of the ship on water nauseated me. The water below was so dark and still that I could not even see a ripple break its silky surface. The night birds circled over head as if they too were watching me. I inhaled deeply to try and clear my thoughts and calm my nerves. But the smell of blood filled my nostrils like a warning. I looked down and by the light of the shy moonlight I could make out great figures fighting over something that looked suspiciously human. The sea had claimed another life.

My supper came rushing up as I watched the horrific scene unfolding before me. But despite the meal that was being devoured by the beasts of the sea in its midst, the waves continued drumming out it rhythm against the ship and the sea absorbed the blood greedily as if nothing uncharacteristic were happening. Just like a monster that has finished playing with its food. I wanted to get out, to reach land as quick as possible. But I was in the middle of a merciless sea and to upset it was fatal.

The gentle swishing of the waves against the side of the ship startled me awake from my dreamless sleep. Certainly that soothing sounds cannot be coming from the brutal sea below me? But as I walked to the starboard and looked below, I saw the waves lazily lapping against the ship. I was amazed at how quick the sea could Change its feelings. One moment it was leering at me and the next it was calling me into its calm waters. The smell of morning was so pleasant to me after the blood and I welcomed the fresh, salty scent. The sea looked as if it had been washed overnight and it had come out clean and innocent like a naughty child behaving after a good spanking. The feel of the water against my fingertips was cool revitalizing and as I brought my finger to my lips, the taste of the salt was sharp and arousing. They spray tickled my face as I learned far out to get a better look at the graceful dolphins that were gliding past the ship. They seemed to have grown accustomed to these huge vessels trespassing through their habitat. They arched so perfectly into the air and fell back into the water with such grace that I could not take my eye off them, even long after they had departed. The sea amazed me yet again. How can it be home to such different creatures all at once?As the royal Heiress traced its path back home, I could feel the sea getting impatient. The waves grew bigger and the salty spray flew above the rails. The water rushed about fiercely and the ship rocked harder and faster. It was like sitting in the middle of a hurricane. Nothing was still, not even my nerves. The water churned below and the spray tickled my bare arms. The air smelt dangerous and I could feel the tension emanating from the other passengers. We sat like little children in the middle of a fight between our parents. Nothing to do, nowhere to go. Finally the sight of land was like a sedative for me and I waited impatiently to get out of this graceful, yet foreboding ship.

At the end of my cruise I disembarked with relief. I had survived the imminent death sentence that the gloomy ocean had placed on me. I stood on the safe land watching as the colossal ship was taken away by the waves. The waves were hurrying about intensely and could tell that the sea was enraged that I had escaped. Nothing could deter me now. Not even the largest, meanest shark alive. I hade survived the challenge of the tossing sea and to me that was the final achievement.

Bibliography:It was my experience on a ship when I was in Mozambique