Photo credit Geralt via Pixabay
Suddenly it went quiet and very very cold. I struggled to the surface and tried to breathe but the shock of hitting the freezing water stopped me from taking a breath. Time seemed to slow down as I fought to keep my head above water and I remember thinking about my parents and how they wouldn’t have a grave to visit. It seemed like an eternity but in reality, it must have been just a few seconds before I saw something bright orange out the corner of my eye. I grabbed for it and realised it was one of the ship’s life buoys.
I clung to it and started breathing again. Short, desperate gasps. I was trying to process how it had got there when I was illuminated by a bright white light. The ship! Someone had seen me fall, thank God! It was so cold, icy cold, I couldn’t feel my legs or hands. I knew that I only had a few minutes of survival time as I was trying desperately to keep my head above the enormous waves and the ship visible. The floodlight from the ship flickered on and off me, I knew it was difficult for them to keep me in sight. Thank God for the orange life buoy.
It seemed like hours but in reality was only a few minutes. I was so tired, sapped of all my energy and strength and completely numb with cold. Without the lifebuoy to hang onto I doubt I could have stayed afloat. I felt a tug on my clothing and heard shouts. I could barely move now but I sensed people’s arms around me trying to pull me into the small boat. Then I must have passed out. The hypothermia had taken hold of my body and I don’t really remember much until I woke up in the ship’s sick bay sometime later. I was just glad to be alive.