We’re not afraid to die if we can all be together


  1. Describe the boat and the plan of the journey.

Ans:     The narrator had dreamt of sailing in the wake of the great explorer Captain James Cook. He set sail in Wavewalker, the boat that was specially designed and made for the purpose. It was a 23 metre, 30 ton wooden hulled boat. It had been professionally built. It had been tested for months in the roughest weather. The long 1,05,000 km voyage was to be covered in three years in different phases.


  1. How did they pass the first leg of their journey?

Ans:     Everything went well in the first leg of their ‘planned three-year 1,05,000 kilometre journey’.
It passed  pleasantly as they sailed down the west coast of Africa to Cape Town. But the trouble started when they left Cape Town. On the second day out of Cape Town, they began to encounter strong waves and gales.


  1. What were the first indications of the ‘impending disaster’ that ultimately struck them on January 2?

Ans:     The first indication of the impending disaster came at about 6 p.m. on January 2. An omnious silence prevailed all around. The wind dropped. The sky immediately grew dark. Then came a growing roar. A huge vertical wave, almost twice the height of the other waves, came roaring towards the ship.These were sure indications of the coming disaster.


  1. What precautions did the narrator, the captain, take when huge waves struck the boat on January 2?

Ans:     Huge waves came rolling towards the boat. The howling of gales and spray was painful to the ears. First of all they decided to slow down the boat. The storm jib was dropped. Heavy mooring ropes were looped across the stern. They went through their life-raft drill. They attached lifelines. Oilskins and life-jackets were donned. Larry and Herb were continuously pumping water out like madmen.


  1. How did the narrator hurt himself on January 2?

Ans:     Wavewalker was capsizing. Her masts had fallen. Huge waves struck the boat upright. The narrator grabbled the guard rails and sailed through the air into Wavewalker’smain boom. Waves tossed him around the deck like a rag doll. His left ribs cracked and his mouth was filled with blood and broken teeth.


  1. Who were Larry and Herb? What role did they play.

Ans:     Before heading east from Cape Town, the narrator employed two crewmen. They were Larry Vigil and Swiss Herb Seigler. They were to help them ‘to take one of the world’s roughest seas, the Southern Indian Ocean. Larry and Herb did their job quite well. When the gigantic waves struck Wavewalker, they continued pumping water out of the boat.


  1. Describe the situation on the morning of January 3.

Ans:     By morning on January 3, the situation showed a little improvement. Pumps had been working round the clock. The water level was sufficiently under control. The crewmen could take two hours rest in rotation. But there was still a tremendous leak somewhere below the water line. No doubt, they had survived for 15 hours since the wave hit Wavewalker. But it would not hold long enough for them to reach Australia.


  1. Describe Ile Amsterdam. How did its inhabitants behave with the new comers?

Ans:     When the narrator rushed on the deck he was relieved to see the outline of Ile Amsterdam. It was a French base. It was a black piece of volcanic rock. It had little vegetation but still it appeared to be ‘the most beautiful island in the world’. They anchored offshore for the night. The next morning all 28 inhabitants of the island cheered them and helped them ashore.


  1. Justify the title : “We’re not Afraid to Die………”.

Ans:     The lesson is aptly logically titled : “We’re not Afraid to Die…..”. These are the words of Jonathan, the son of the narrator. Like his brave father, Jon declared that they were not afraid to die. But it would be better if they died together – Daddy and Mummy and Sue and he. These words sum up the courage shown by the narrator, his wife and children and, of course, the crewmen.


  1. Describe the behavior of the narrator and his family, particularly of his children Jon and Sue, during the voyage.

Ans:     The narrator, his wife and children set sail from Plymouth, England with great hope, excitement and determination. The narrator was a 37-year old businessman. He had dreamt of duplicating the round-the-world voyage made 200 years ago by Captain James Cook. He had worked hard in sharpening his seafaring skills in British waters. The first leg of their journey passed pleasantly. Their troubles started when they moved out of Cape Town. But even hostile weather couldn’t dampen their spirits. Though the weather changed for the worse on the New Year’s Day, they all participated in its celebrations.

The captain (the narrator himself) really showed his heroic qualities. He was aware of being thrown overboard and sinking below the waves. He didn’t panic. His left ribs cracked and his mouth was filled with blood and broken teeth. Somehow, he found the wheel and hung on. Even the behavior of the crewmen Larry and Herb was quite praiseworthy. They continued pumping water out like madmen. The narrator’s wife Mary didn’t panic either. She only cried “We’re sinking”.

Jonathan and Sue proved that they were the children of brave and adventurous parents. Jon declared that they were “not afraid of dying if they could all the together.” The children were really excited when they sighted the island Ile Amsterdam. Now the narrator was not an ordinary father but “the best daddy in the whole world-and the best captain.”