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Have you ever wondered what it would have been like for those ancient mariners when they sailed on ships that did not possess such modern navigational instruments such as the radar etc.?  Well their ships were also made of wood and ropes; they used their ingenuity to make sails to suit their requirements. It was a passion with them to explore the unknown territories of the oceans. It was this passion that urged the sailors to dare the mighty oceans irrespective of what they knew or possessed.

It is so different today. We have the oceans charted out in great detail and the modern developments in the marine navigational instruments make the job of sailing much less risky. However the seas are as always most unpredictable and can take one by surprise by being most unrelenting at times.

Many of us may not have the experience of sailing in a ship that sails the mighty oceans (as we would like to call them). The seas appear really mighty when one is on a ship that sails on endlessly for days together; at times even for a month at a stretch.

I was lucky to have had a chance to experience the unexpected once when I took to sailing in a ship for a considerable time. It will be a pleasure to share my experience with you.

It dawns pretty early at sea, the air is fresh and the only noise is that of the water hitting the hull of the ship. The white froth is seen all along the sides as the ship cuts through water with the purposeful whirr of the engines and the only aim seems to be that of reaching the shores as soon as possible. Somehow one feels as though the ship does not care for what goes on with the people on board. At this juncture one might ask `ships don’t have a heart or mind like humans, then why attribute such qualities to them?' Well, if ever one sails long enough in a ship, one would automatically associate her with all emotions that we feel, she becomes a part of you, like so many other things we associate ourselves with, in life.

One of those days, when everything was quiet, I went to sleep like a baby knowing nothing of what was in store. Suddenly not knowing what woke me up, I got up with a jolt only to realise that I was on the floor of the cabin flat on my face. I was all too soon retching like my guts were about to pop out of my mouth. The cabin was tilting and the angle so acute that I was thrown to the other end of it much too quickly for me to get a hold of myself.

The ship was being dealt a mighty blow by the rushing waves and she was struggling to keep afloat, at least that was the feeling I got looking out from the confines of the cabin. The porthole was the only window to the outside world and the world consisted of nothing but the vast stretch of the ocean whichever way one looked at it. The ship was pitching and rolling with the rhythm and the timing of the continuous walls of waves that lashed the ship's deck. She was drenched completely and if one ventured to go out on the deck, one was sure to have been thrown overboard.

At last I managed to get my legs to obey me and managed a weak erect position to view the sea outside. The waves were huge and the sea had a surface that showed more white than blue. It was only later that the ships captain told me that they were called ‘white horses’. True to the term, they all looked like a lot of absolute clean white manes flying about in rhythm with the galloping of the horses. For a moment close your eyes and visualise a hundred white horses galloping free with all their horsepower right in front of your eyes. Isn’t it a lovely sight? That was my feeling too and my seasickness was all forgotten. These incidents are as such both scary and exciting. I can never forget the image; it is etched forever in my memory.

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Honest Sisters