The Nanshan was
on her way from the south to Fuzhou, with Chinese workers on
board, returning to their home villages in the province of
Fujian. The morning had been fine, for there was no wind. The
heat was close.
Observing the fall of the barometer, Captain MacWhirr thought,
"There's some dirty weather knocking about. " He lifted
his eyes to the sky. "What's up?" Jukes, the
engineer, asked. "It looks as if a typhoon is coming on,"
said the Captain.
"Whatever there might be," said Jukes, "we are moving straight
into it." "A storm is a storm, Mr Jukes," answered the
Captain, " and a full-powered steamship has got to face it."
I must have been asleep. What was that loud noise? Wind?
Why had I not been called? "Came on like this,"
shouted Jukes, "five minutes ago... all of a sudden. " The
storm grew stronger and huge waves swept over the ship. It
was unbelievable how much water came down on the ship.
Something told Captain Macwhirr that the Nanshan was lost.
"She's done for," he said to himself. This weather
was simply impossible. They were all on the bridge when the full
force of the hurricane struck the ship. "Will she live through
this?" "Ship...may...through this... all right yet," the
Captain shouted. "Do you think she may?" Jukes screamed.
But the wind swallowed the reply, and Jukes heard only one word,
spoken with geat energy "..Always..."
This was their work – to move the ship over the high sea and
into the very eye of the wind. Captain MacWhirr saw a white
tower of water, so high that he couldn't believe his eyes,
them. It raced to meet the ship. The Nanshan jumped. With a
tearing crash, tons of water fell upon the deck, as though the
ship passed under a waterfall. "Another one like this, and
that's the last of her,"
cried the Captain.
"Seems as if the wind had dropped, Sir." There was no wind, not
a breath. The unexpected silence made Jukes feel uncomfortable.
"We have done it, Sir," he whispered. "Wind fell all at
"The trouble's not over yet," said Captain MacWhirr, half aloud.
He went to the bridge. There was no light there; he struck a
match, and held out the little flame towards the barometer. It
stood very low - incredibly low. There was no mistake. It was
the lowest reading he had ever seen in his life. The worst was
to come yet!
He listened for the first sounds of returning wind. Not yet. "It
will come very sudden," said Captain MacWhirr, " and from over
there, I think. " A minute passed.
"What's that? A puff of wind?" The roar of the winds drew
near fast. The hurricane, with its power to sink ships and to
destroy strong walls, had found this little ship in its path.
Before the second storm fell on his ship, Captain MacWhirr
swore, "I wouldn't like to lose her."...
(Senior English for China Student's Book 2A Unit
10 INTEGRATING SKILLS Reading)