Reader's Digest International - - Bonus Read -

As­tar­tled Ryan Shuck awake just past 2:30 a.m. Ryan groaned and rolled out of bed. He pulled on a pair of wool socks, sweat­pants, a white ther­mal un­der­shirt with holes in the el­bows, and a hoodie. Then he went out to the gal­ley. A mo­ment later two guys on the emer­gency crew came in from the stern. Ryan no­ticed their pants were wet up to the knees.

Joey Gal­breath was still awake when the alarm sounded. He shuf­fled into the gal­ley. Ryan Shuck was there with a cou­ple of other men. Then some­one ran in and said, “Get up to the wheel­house. You gotta get the suits on.”

Ryan and Joey joined a scram­ble up to the wheel­house, where the sur­vival suits were stowed. Gumby suits, most peo­ple call them, be­cause that’s what they make you look like, ex­cept they’re or­ange in­stead of green. Only the face is left ex­posed in a prop­erly fit­ted suit, the whole body sealed tight against the sea.

Joey grabbed a suit. It was too big, but would it mat­ter? The Ranger was tak­ing on wa­ter, but 200-foot boats don’t sink. They’re di­vided into com­part­ments with wa­ter­tight doors, so any breach can be con­tained. Joey guessed Cap­tain Pete was just be­ing cau­tious, over­re­act­ing to a mi­nor leak.

Peter Ja­cob­sen, 65, had been fish­ing the Ber­ing Sea for 23 years. He was skip­per of the Alaska Ranger, a fish­ing trawler out of Dutch Har­bor, Alaska, head­ing west to­ward the mack­erel grounds off Atka.

Joey heard a voice in the wheel­house say­ing that the Alaska War­rior,

the Ranger’s sis­ter ship, was three hours out, steam­ing to­ward them. So that was the plan, he fig­ured: trans­fer ev­ery­one to the War­rior, wait for the emer­gency crew to pump out the Ranger, get back on and hob­ble back home to Dutch Har­bor.

Cap­tain Pete or­dered ev­ery­one to their as­signed rafts. Joey started wrestling


into his over­large suit, the floppy feet slid­ing on the iced-over deck. The air tem­per­a­ture was eight de­grees. He was cold al­ready, and three hours was an eter­nity to wait for the War­rior.

Ryan Shuck was near the raft on the star­board side, close to the wheel­house. He had his Gumby on. The chat­ter on deck was that the rud­der had fallen off and wa­ter was com­ing

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.