Lost At Sea

Entry by: daddy

10th April 2015
Lost at sea
Soul Twins
Brandon was standing at forecastle of his ship looking at the waves being cut at twenty kt by the missile destroyer. They had lifted anchor off Madagascar port of Tolagnaro at 2000 hrs and were now headed to Cochin, the spice port of India. He looked at the plankton flashing past the ships side in the dark and the sea surface being ripped in to bubbling foam as the destroyer sailed in to the Indian Ocean. Only couple of hours ago the destroyer was bristling with activity befitting a mighty warship-weighing anchor off a foreign port. Boats returning with merry sailors, last minute supplies, and fuel being taken on-board. Communication sets buzzing, satellite navigators churning out figures and charted courses and engine room growls. Officers and sailors manned all positions after completing emergency drills as the ship moved through the milling fishing boats and towards the high seas. The ship was now sailing in a glassy sea and the
bridge was a distant silhouette bathing under the navigation lights. The ship was under middle watch and quietest at this time of the night. Brandon was satisfied about ship being in capable hands and had come to his favorite place at forecastle watching plankton flow past. It appeared as if the sea acknowledged the destroyers power and lighted its path with alacrity. He would stand like this for hours during long sailings; it gave a deep sense of calm and made him feel like a small part of the mighty ocean. As if he was a tiny pulsating vein in a mighty resting reptile, contributing somehow to ensure that the reptile remained at peace.
Just before they had set sail, he had spoken to Lauren, his wife who was on her way to the hospital for delivery of their daughter back home in San Francisco. It had been a tough time for both as the Lauren had not been keeping well in the winter months with frequent bouts of asthma, which had taken a toll and had left her and the baby underweight. As Lauren was quite weak, the doctor was anxious that the delivery take place at the earliest. However, the load had come on Lauren as he was not due to return for another two weeks. No one was available to come and help his wife, since parents on both sides were over seventy-five and her twin sister Laura was in Australia grappling with early stages of breast cancer.
Brandon was torn between two duties and he felt being torn apart at times like these. Sea was the only one whom he could pour out his heart. At times, he thought of resigning from the navy but since Lauren had given up her teaching due to ill health, he had to keep his job. Twenty years in the navy had taken their toll physically and emotionally. The scars were clearly visible in darkest colors whenever he spoke to the sea. He had not been there in family festivities and in grief. He was not with Laura when she shouldered responsibilities of both the sides; his duties had always kept him away. This time he felt he should definitely be at his wife's side but this assignment had been extended at last minute. The sea was gurgling past the ship's side in angry foam however, one could not see a ripple some distance away, not even moonlight reflecting from the surface.
He heard the deep growl from the sea, a call to come in to his arms from a soul mate and find peace unlike he had ever experienced before. The sea appeared to him like a large living organism, which felt the man made ships as freaks of nature crawling on its body. The call became an urge and he put his foot on the guardrail to go and embrace the eternal warmth forever and all will be well. His fists tightened their grip on the guardrail, a silent scream ascended from his pits, a crescendo was building up. He tightened his jaws to take the last leap to eternal peace when a sheet of cold sweat swathed his brow, he sensed the lowering of the barometric pressure, something he had a knack for, as if his skin had embedded pressure sensors warning him of the impending storm. The calm was about to be shattered.
He rushed to the bridge as he realized they were going to encounter a fierce tropical storm, which could build up into an ogre wrecking havoc at sea as well as on land. Within the hour, the wind had started whistling and the waves lashed against the sides. The ship had started rolling and pitching, the weather reports started streaming cyclonic data fused from satellites and ships in the region. Time was not sufficient to bypass the cyclone and the best bet lay in trying to stay on its periphery by gauging the wind. Slight error in judgment would lead them straight in to the calmest region, the eye of the cyclone! Within the hour the waves were crashing on to the deck, the wind had built up to 80 km/h; a monster of a cyclone had been born. The waves rose to fifteen meters height, thousands of tons of water came crashing on the decks, the wind began howling in cancerous pain. He stood holding to whatever he supports he could find, the ship had long been completely locked down to stop any ingress of water. As the ship ploughed in to the huge waves, he was calm not once wavering in the course to be steered. He knew somehow that they would sail tangential to the cyclonic path and end up south just close to equator. His navigator informed him of the failure of navigation aids and communication systems as the waves were now crashing above the bridge. The skies were covered with dark ominous clouds therefore it was an herculean task to steer the ship by sheer instinct and with the erratic age old magnetic compass. The ship was rolling and pitching heavily, the yaw was excruciating, only two people were somehow standing in the bridge with the rest sea sick and wretching in buckets kept for this purpose. Four hours of ordeal later, he could just sense that they had made it away from the eye of the storm. The engineers got busy with repairing communications equipment on priority. He waited another hour for the ship to stabilize and then thought of going to his cabin for a well-deserved rest to his aching body, he started descending the ladder to his cabin when he heard the cackling of the radio sets, he misplaced his foot and went crashing down the steps.
A wire that Lauren had delivered a healthy baby girl had come in, the radio officer found Brandon face down at the end of the ladder unconscious but breathing. The toll taken by the cyclone on the ship was being estimated as the ship started bristling with activity again.
Unknown to any one at that time was the fact that while they had escaped the cyclone north of equator they were soon to be in the direct path of a twin cyclone just south of equator….