Safe and Sound

A cruise to New Zealand for school! Could life get any better for the adventurous teen Tess?!

A 2 day cruise on the Pacific Pearl with the rest of the year 9's in her school was going to be a blast! So much to do and see, Tess and her friends couldn't wait!

But disaster strikes on the first night of the cruise, an unexpected storm creates massive waves which eventually causes the ship to capsize. Most of the passengers on the boat are flung into the raging water, including Tess.

Tess awakens on the sandy shore of an island, exhausted she lays there half dead, shivering.

What feels like a blanket is suddenly layed across her, she forces her eyes open and looks up. A boy, not too much older than her looks down at her....is she dreaming?! "The name's Jackson," he says, eyes as blue as the ocean on a perfect sunny day. "but you can call me Jack if you like."

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3. Storms and Waves

1am. Wide Awake. In a cabin. On a cruise ship.

Emma is sound asleep, for such a bubbly person she falls asleep so quickly. I sigh, bored. I'm aching to sneak out and go up to the top deck, but I'm scared of getting caught. 

Finally, at 1:30am, I make the spontaneous decision to sneak out. It's risky, but the view will be worth the trouble if I get caught. I slowly get out of the bunk bed, slip on a jumper over my pj's and take a moment to make sure Emma is still asleep.

The hallway floor is cold on my bare feet. All the teachers are back in the staff area, which makes sneaking around a lot easier for me. The constant sound of the waves against the ship drown out my footsteps as I creep closer and closer towards the stairs which lead up to the top deck. I dash as quietly as I can up the stairs and the warm breeze brushes against my face. I look around the dimly lit decking. No one. Brilliant! I head for the rail, the more I look around the more my eyes get used to the darkness.

The only things that stand out are the stars. Millions, trillions of stars, all sparkling so beautifully. I lean against the decking rail, trying to make out where the ocean meets the sky, I can see as far as the horizon. The only sound was the constant whoosh of the waves against the ship. I breathe in warm, salty air and try to figure out if the stars I'm looking at are actual stars of just reflections in the ocean. I put my hands in my jumper pockets and feel something hard and rectangular, my camera! I take it out and switch the settings to "night landscape." "This is for you Mum" I whisper as I click the button to try and capture even a fraction of the beauty in front of me.

A faint sound of rumbling starts to get louder and louder the more I gaze at the stars, the louder it gets, the more it sounds like thunder. Suddenly the whole ocean is lit up by a massive lightening bolt that flashes across the starry sky. For a split second my heart stops, surely the Captain knew a storm was coming! Maybe we are going around the storm? I hope. I can hear what sounds like a waterfall, which is getting louder as well. Disturbingly loud. DEFINITELY too loud to be going around the storm. The Captain of this ship will have to know what he is doing. It was going to be a great show anyway, I hold onto my camera tightly, waiting to capture some pictures of lightening over the ocean. None comes, but still the rumbling of the thunder and what sounds like a waterfall gets louder, and louder.

A shiver goes down my spine as I remain at the decking rail. Then, out of nowhere it begins to poor with rain. Not just "normal" rain, it was like someone was pouring a massive bucket of endless water over me. I was drenched before I even started to run to the stairs. The lightning starts getting a lot more constant, and the thunder is as loud as a big truck speeding down a highway. I now realize that the waterfall sound is actually the massive waves crashing against each other as if they are panicking in this great storm and don't know what way to go. I sit on the top stair, wanting to take more photos to show Mum, but at the same time not wanting to be drenched or thrown overboard. 

I only start to realize how serious this storm was getting when the boat starts to rock. Not just a gentle rock, but a rock created by such powerful waves that it actually makes me slide from either side of the stair i'm still sitting on. It sounds like voices from the cabins at the bottom of the stairs, but I can't be too sure as the thunder, heavy rain and crashing waves make it hard to hear much else. Suddenly a massive wave crashes down onto the decking, the water sprays over me and a bit of it splashes down the stairs.

The boat rocks to what seems like a dangerous angle, and panic starts to take over my excitement. Still unsure about if I should go back to my cabin or not, I remain on the stairs, clutching my camera. It's drenched from the wave but it's a waterproof one so I'm not worried about it. What I am worried about it my friends still in their cabins. Jett and Emma would love to see this! I wish they were here! I think about going and getting them, but everyone would be awake from the thunder and rain and I would be so busted. So I still remain on the stairs. 

Another wave, bigger than the last one crashes onto the decking, sending even more water all over me and down the stairs into one of the hallways. Again, the ship rocks to one side even more, making it creak loudly. More panic rushes through me. This is ridiculous! What is the Captain thinking sailing a ship through this? 

Voices become clearer and as I peek down the hall, I can see some of the year 9's emerging from their cabins, worry plainly across most of their faces. When another gigantic wave crashes against the side of the ship, Emma bursts from our cabin, I run down the stairs. "Emma" I shriek as another wave sends even more water down the stairs and covers the hallway floor. A few girls scream as the cold salty water slithers over their bare feet and pajama pants. 

"Oh my gosh Tess! You're drenched! I KNEW you were going to sneak out!!" Emma says hugging me. "What is going on?" 

"Massive storm, it's pouring out there! And I think we're in the middle of it!" I say shivering. Finally some teachers arrive and the boys end up huddling at the girls end of the hall. 

"We must all remain very calm! This storm is quite severe but if we be safe and don't go running off I'm sure everyone will be fine." one of the cruise staff members yell over the worried conversations of all the year 9's. We all try to cling to the walls as the ship tips from every powerful wave that crashes against it. I try to scan every ones faces around me in search of Jett, Tyler and Stevie. I soon recognize him huddled at the back of the crowd. "Jett! Tyler Ste-" I'm cut off as the biggest wave yet crashes up on the decking, sending so much water down the hallway it knocks nearly everyone off their feet! 

That's when the we all feel the ship tip....and tip....and keep on tipping until a gigantic splash of water sends us all flying to one side of the hall. One side of the halls doors fly open and as the ship creaks I realize that it is nearly completely tipped over! I stare at Emma in horror. Not one person is speaking. We all just look at the cruise staff and teachers for an explanation...but no one can give us one. "Everyone stay calm! I'll go get a report from the Captain! Everything is going to be alright!" a young staff member announces as she runs for the Captain who is up the other end of the ship.

By the time the staff member comes back to us, we are up to our knees in water. As she walks through the crowd of panic stricken people, I notice that the Captain is following close behind. "EVERYONE PLEASE PAY ATTENTION!" the Captain yells, raising his hands in the air. "This storm was completely unexpected and as a result of the waves this ship is about to capsize." This sends even more panic into the group of us. Some of the girls start to cry. "SHUSH! PLEASE!" The Captain yells again. "We need to get to the lifeboats before the ship capsizes completely. Grab a partner and if you lose them tell me or a staff member. We need to go up these stair and onto the decking. The lifeboats are on the side of the ship. Do NOT go in front of me," the Captain then points to the young staff member beside him. "This lady here will bring up the rear of the group, STAY TOGETHER AND WATCH YOUR STEP!"

"Partner?" Emma asks, grabbing my hand.

"Partner." I say, looking at her anxiously as we head up the stairs with the rest of the year 9's following the Captain.

 

 

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