Lindemann, Hannes - Alone at Sea - December 16th
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Alone at Sea – Hannes Lindemann
All at once a huge wall rose on my right . . . nothing more ….. out …. .. empty...dead?
No, I gasped for breath, beat with hands and feet, and then they were free.
I had capsized, was in the water. "I must reach the boat, the waves must not separate us," went through my head. The hull stood high over the surface. It felt slippery. My mouth tasted of salt. At last I caught hold of the outrigger.
The boat lay across the waves. I pushed her into the right direction. Would the storm ever stop? What could I do? I thought back to the time when my boat had capsized near Madeira, on one of my shorter previous foldboat voyages, and I remembered the difficulty I had had then in righting her. I found myself between outrigger and boat, with only my head out of water. The storm showed no sign of subsiding. The waves rumbled, roared and thundered as before, mercilessly. In the sea, my body felt bitterly cold.
Then I climbed onto the hull, my right hand on the paddle to the outrigger, the left cramped to the edge of the boat.
The wind hurtled over the hull, comber after comber washed over me. Still I was terribly cold. Only my head, protected by a woollen cap with a hood over it, stayed warm.
Was this the end? No! I would not allow it to be the end.
I willed the Liberia to stay afloat. Would I sail the rest of the way to the islands, perched on the hull? Waves, warmer than the winds, broke over my back. I glanced at the stars.
Orion was not even in the zenith, so it was not yet midnight.
I knew I had to wait till daybreak to right the boat. I faced seven hours precariously balanced on the hull. The stiff winds chilled my body, I slipped back into the water………………….
Two A.M. Orion descended in the west. …. The pitiless winds had reduced me to a shivering, chattering skeleton.
Suddenly I heard the sound of bells. They reminded me of church bells at home, the same bells that I had rung as a child. Did they ring now for my funeral? They must know, surely, that I could not die now, that I would get through?
I was quiet, my muscles held on, instinctively, and demonstrated that deep in my subconscious there was still life. …………..
At four A.M. Orion was about forty-five degrees west. I dozed on the hull. Once a voice invited me to go to a nearby farmhouse, to have a drink and sink deep into a feather bed.
"Where is the house?" I asked.
"Over there, in the west, behind the hill," carne the answer.
Then I awoke. My sense of hearing had returned, I could feel the numbing cold again. I heard myself repeating aloud:
"Don't give up, don't give up, you'Il get through." I dared not sleep. Deep sleep meant certain death. I knew the sea devours everything leaves no trace, draws even the dead downward. In the water again, I floated, dead, empty of feeling, at times delirious.
But something survived, the light-house that guided me was my determination to succeed. As long as I had that, I lived. Sometimes, the lighthouse darkened-then there was nothing-only muscles-an animal without thoughts-all instinct, until the lighthouse suddenly lit up for me again.
Loud and bright, it warned me not to give in, to keep on fighting. It shouted at me, "You will make it."
The source of the experienceLindemann, Hannes
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps
Loneliness and isolation
Overwhelming fear and terror
Sleep deprivation, insomnia and mental exhaustion