Part 13. Five Men in a Raft What, you may be wondering, do men of a certain age and standing in life carry with them when they abandon ship?
Not much. In light of the Coast Guard’s bureaucracy fixation, I didn’t want to wash up on shore without my passport. I also brought my wallet, car keys and medications. We had a knife, water and other provisions in the red “everything bag,” which we had tossed into the raft. I looked back wistfully at the mixed case of good wines, which, because of rough weather and short watches, we hadn’t even touched.
We were amazed by the raft’s sturdiness. With a cover for bad weather and a pump for high water, we felt secure against the elements, becoming practically giddy with relief. David brought us back to reality. “All we have to do now," he said, pointing to Sparky a couple of hundred yards away, “is get from here to there and then figure out how to get on board. Before dark.”
Sparky, whose crew had practiced their rescue procedure three times in anticipation, circled to get downwind of us and as close as possible. “Too fast,” George thought, worried we would be caught by her bow. But the helmsman held his course, and the captain threw us a line, which landed almost beyond our reach. Fred hauled it in, and we struggled to hold on in the heavy seas. But we felt it pulling relentlessly from our hands, until we had to let go. Sparky circled again.