We’re Not Afraid to Die, Explanation, Line by Line, Meaning of Difficult Words, English CBSE Class 11 NCERT Hornbill Chapter 2


(Explanation and Meaning of difficult words)

Authors – Gordon Cook & Alan East

honing our seafaring skills Improving our skills of travel by sea
ominous silence Inauspicious silence
Mayday calls Emergency calls
pinpricks in the vast ocean Very small in very big ocean
A tousled head Head having uncombed hair


Word Meaning
Set sail Started our journey by sea
Duplicate To copy, To do it again
Voyage Journey by sea, river or in space

In July 1976 we started our journey by sea. We were four people. Myself, my wife Marry, my son Jonathan and my daughter Suzanne. My age was 37, my son was 6 years old and my daughter was 7 years old. We were trying to copy the round the world voyage made by Captain James Cook about 200 years ago. We started our journey from Plymouth in England.




Word Meaning
In the wake of Happening after , Because of,
Explorer Traveller, One who seeks knowledge
Leisure time Free time
honing our seafaring skills Improving our skills of travel by sea
British water Sea area of Britain

My age is 37 years and I am a businessman. For a very long time me and my wife had a dream. We wanted to do the same voyage as earlier completed by the famous traveller James Cook. We had spent all our free time in improving our skill to travel by sea. We were doing practice in the sea area of Britain since last 16 years.



Word Meaning
Hull Outer body of a ship
Wooden hulled Outer body made of wood
Fitting out To make interiors for comfortable living
Rough weather Unpleasant or difficult weather

Name of our boat was Wavewalker. It was 23 meter long and its weight was 30 ton. The ship was built by people expert in building ships. We had installed many more things in the ship for a comfortable living. We had tested the ship in the most difficult and unpleasant weather.



Word Meaning
The first leg The first part

We had planned a voyage of 105000 kilometers. The first part of this journey was from Britain to Cape Town situated along west coast of Africa. We did not face any trouble during this part of the journey.




Word Meaning
Heading Going, Moving
Crewmen Members of crew, Team members
Tackle Manage, Handle,
American From America
Swiss From Switzerland

Before going in east direction from there we included Larry Vigil and Herb Seigler in our team. Larry was from America and Herb was from Switzerland. They would help us in managing the southern Indian Ocean which is the most difficult sea in the world.



Word Meaning
Encounter Experience, Confront, Face
Gale Strong winds, Storm
Alarming Causing worry, Giving warning
Mast The vertical post in a ship

Two days after starting from Cape Town, we started experiencing strong winds. Strong winds flowed continuously for next couple of weeks. I was not worried because of strong winds. Height of waves was a cause of worry. They were upto 15 meters high, as high as the main mast of our ship.



Word Meaning
Despite In spite of, Notwithstanding
Atrocious Terrible, Miserable, Very bad
Reasoned Thought, Hoped, Logically thought

On December 25, we had travelled 3500 KM from Cape Town in the east direction. Although the weather was very bad, we celebrated Christmas on the ship with a Christmas tree. We thought and hoped that weather would change. Weather changed and became worse.



Word Meaning
Dawn Morning
Gigantic Very huge
Storm jib A small sail used during storm
Knot Speed in see is represented in  knots per hour

In the morning of January 2, the waves were very huge. We had put up a small sail on the ship because winds were blowing fast. In spite of very small sail, we were moving at the speed of eight knots per hour. One knot per hour is equal to 1.85 KM per hour.




Word Meaning
Enormous Very big
Screaming Loud voice, Shout

Whenever ship moved on top of a wave, we could see the endless area of sea. Because of waves it looked as if the whole see was moving towards our ship. The loud voice of wind and spray of water droplets was very painful to ears.



Word Meaning
Dropped Removed
Mooring rope A rope used to tie a ship at the harbour
Stern Back portion of ship
Lash Tie
Life-raft Life boat used in emergency
Drill Exercise, Practice
Lifline A rope used to save life of a person
Donned Wore
Oilskins Heavy cloths made waterproof by oil
Life jacket A jacket that keeps person afloat

To reduce speed of the boat we removed the storm jib. We tied a heavy rope at the back of the ship. Then we tied everything twice. We did not want things to fall. We practised use of life boat. We attached lifelines in the ship to save ourselves from falling. We wore oilskins and life-jackets. Then we waited. They had prepared themselves for the worst situation.



Word Meaning
Impending About to happen, Nearing, Imminent
Disaster Big problem, Calamity
Ominous silence Inauspicious silence
Towered Covered
Aft of ship Front portion of ship

The first indication of the upcoming problem came at about 6 PM. There was total and inauspicious silence. Wind stopped blowing and the sky became dark. Then we could hear a loud sound. A very big cloud was covering the front portion of the ship.




Word Meaning
Horror Fear
Realised Understood
Frightful Terrible, Causing fear
Crest Top portion of a wave

When I looked at it, I understood that it was not a cloud but a very big wave. I had never seen such a big wave. I was afraid. The wave was perfectly vertical. It was about twice the height of other waves. Its top most portion started breaking itself. It was such a fearful sight.



Word Meaning
Roar Very loud voice
Thunder Very loud roar
Tremendous Huge
Deck To horizontal surface of ship

The sound of the wave increased to the level of a thunder. While the wave approached the ship, the front portion of the ship moved up. I thought the ship will sail over the wave. But suddenly there was a huge sound. The whole body of the ship was shaken.



Word Meaning
Torrent Huge quantity of water, Deluge
Overboard At the higher level
Approaching Coming near, Nearing

A huge quantity of green and white water fell in the ship. My head struck violently against wheel of the ship. I could feel that I was being thrown to higher level of the ship. But I was sinking in water. The author was thrown into the sea by the force of wave of water. I felt I was about to die. I was becoming unconscious. I felt peaceful.




Word Meaning
Unexpectedly Without any expectation
Popped up Jumped up
Capsizing Turning to its side, Sinking,
Hurled Threw
Upright Straight
Taut Tightened, Stretched
Grabbed Held
Sailed through air Jumped in the air
Boom Part of the ship where lifeboats are put

Though I did not expect, my head came out of sea water. At a distance of some meters, the ship Wavewalker had turned to it side and was sinking. Its mast that used to be vertical had become almost horizontal. Then by the force of a wave the ship again became straight. My lifeline gave a jerk to me and I jumped in the air. I landed in the boom part of the ship.

The lifeline of the author was tied to the ship. When ship straightened, the life line was pulled towards the ship. Author got pulled into the air and landed in the ship.



Word Meaning
Subsequent Next, Following
Tossed Threw in the air
Rag doll Doll made of old cloths
Ribs Bones around the chest
Lined up Arranged,
Hung on Remained there

Waves coming after the first wave tossed me in the deck. I was being tossed like a rag doll. My left rib got fractured. My mouth was filled with blood and broken teeth. Somehow I reached the wheel of the ship. I reached the back portion of the ship and remained there to face the next wave.



Word Meaning
Dare not Did not have the courage
Abandon Leave
Investigate To find out

Everywhere in the ship there was water. I could understand that lower portions of ship were filled with water. But I did not have courage to leave the wheel and go there to find out.





Word Meaning
Hatch Door
Screamed Shouted
Decks Floors
Smashed Broken

Suddenly the door in front of me opened. I saw my wife Marry standing in the door. In a loud voice she told me that the ship was sinking. The floor of the ship was broken. The ship is full of water.



Word Meaning
Scrambled Crawled, Walked with difficulty
Starboard side Right side of ship
Bulged inwards Swollen towards inside
Sloshed Moved in water

I asked her to take control of the wheel of the ship. With difficulty I started walking towards the door. Larry and Herb were pumping the water out of ship. They were working to the best of their ability. Broken wood was hanging at different awkward angles. The right side of the ship was swollen inwards. Clothes, crockery etc were moving in the water. Water was quite deep in the ship.



Word Meaning
Upper bunk Upper bed
Bump Swollen part
Worry Bother

I was swimming as well as crawling in the ship. I entered the cabin of my children. I asked then if they were all right. They were on the upper bed and replied that they were OK. My daughter Sue told me that she had a swollen part just above her eyes. I did not have time to bother about the swollen head.



Word Meaning
Canvas Type of cloth
Bashed Broken, Beaten forcefully

I took a hammer, some screws and canvas with me. With great difficulty I came to the main floor of the ship. The right side of the ship was broken by the force of first wave. Therefore because of every other wave water was entering into the ship. If I did not do some repairs, the ship would surely sink.



Word Meaning
Gaping Big, Huge, Wide
Deflected Diverted

Somehow I could stretch the canvas across the gap. Then I fixed the water proof door cover across the big holes. Some water still continued to go to the lower level of the ship. But most of the water that came on the floor was now going out over side of the ship.



Word Meaning
Block up Get chocked
Short-circuited Type of electrical fault
Threateningly Alarmingly

Our problems increased when hand pumps got chocked due to various material floating in water. The electric pumps developed faults so could not be operated. The level of water in the ship started rising alarmingly.




Word Meaning
Wrenched Pulled
Dinghies Boats

I came back to the floor of the ship. I found that our two extra pumps  had been thrown up there by the wave. Some other materials like sail, jib and boats were also lying there.




Word Meaning
Chartroom Room where maps are placed

I recalled that we had one more electrical pump under the floor of our chartroom. I connected that pump to a pipe to pump water out of the ship. Thankfully that pump was working.



Word Meaning
Dragged on Continued for a longer period
Steering Directing towards right way
Mayday calls Emergency call

Throughout the night we followed the routine of pumping of water, directing the ship in right way and giving signal on wireless radio. The night appeared to be a long night. We did not get any response to our emergency calls through the wireless radio. We were not surprised because we were in a remote part of the world.



Swelling on head of Sue had become a cause worry. Her eyes looked very big now. She told us that she had a cut on her arm. I asked her why she did not tell me before about her injuries. She replied that she did not want to bother me. Because I was trying to save life of all of us.



By the morning of 3rd January good quantity of water had been pumped out of ship. It was under control. So one by one, we took two hour rest.




Word Meaning
Tremendous Very big, Huge
Waterline Water-level
Keel Bottom most portion of a ship

Even now there was a huge amount of leakage of water into the ship from below the level of water. I found out that the main frame of the ship was broken upto the bottom most portion of the ship



Word Meaning
In fact Actually
Whole section Not broken
Hull Main body of the ship

Actually everything was broken at least to some extent in the right side of the ship. Only some of the partitions of cupboards made on the body of the ship were not broken.



Word Meaning
Survived Continued to be alive
Hold together Remain together, Not to break

The ship had not sunk during the 15 hours after the first wave had hit the ship. Thus we all were alive. I knew that the ship Wavewalker will break or sink before we could reach Australia. I checked maps. I calculated that couple of hundred kilometres from us there were two islands. These were in the east direction.



Word Meaning
Pinprick Very small
Vast Big
Pinprick in the vast ocean Very small in very big ocean

Name of one of the islands was Ile Amsterdam. On this island France had established its study centre of science. Our hope of survival depended upon reaching this small island in the huge ocean.



Word Meaning
Abated Reduced, Decreased
Hoist Raise, Install
Slim Very low
Auxiliary Additional, Extra, Supportive

But we will not be able to raise our sail until the wind reduced and sea became calm. Our extra engines were damaged by the big wave that had hit our ship. Without raising the sail, our chance of reaching the island was very low.



Word Meaning
Keep pace with Maintain the speed,

We have been pumping water continuously for 36 hours. Now it was 4th January. Only some centimeter depth of water was in the ship. Now we had to maintain speed of pumping out water to that was coming into the ship. All extra water had been pumped out.



Word Meaning
Rigging Rope used for raising sail
Pull apart Break by pulling
Hoisted Raised
Storm jib A small sail
Headed Moved

Due to high speed of wind we could not install sail on the main mast. Because this would have put lot of pressure on the ropes that tie sail with outer body of the ship. Such pressure would have broken the outer body of the ship. So we raised a storm jib. I thought we had started moving in the direction of two islands.



Word Meaning
Corned beef Preserved and salted meat
Cracker biscuit Baked bread
Meal Food

My wife Marry found some salted meat and some baked bread. We ate our first food after about two days.



Word Meaning
Respite Relief
Short lived For a short period
Seas were getting higher Waves were becoming bigger

But the relief was for a short time only. At 4 PM, black clouds started coming from behind the ship. Within one hour the wind was once again blowing at the speed of 40 knots. The waves were becoming bigger and bigger.



Word Meaning
Deteriorate Become bad
Desperate Miserable, Hopeless

The weather continued to become bad during the night. By next morning our condition has once again become miserable.



I went into the room to give emotional support to my kids my son Jon asked me if we were about to die. I tried to give him an assurance that we will come out of this bad situation. He further told me that the kids were not afraid of dying if we all were together. You, mummy, Sue and I.



I did not know how to reply to my son. I came out of the room of my children. I was determined to fight the bad weather to the best my ability.



Word Meaning
Heave to To stop or reduce the speed
Improvise Improve without pre-paln
Barrel Drum
Paraffin Wax

To protect the weak right side of the ship I decided to reduce speed of the ship. I moved the ship in such a way  that the undamaged part of the front portion was facing waves. I used a thick nylon rope to tie two 22 litre wax drums with it. I used this as an anchor to reduce the speed.


That evening I and my wife Marry sat together. We were holding hands of each other. With every movement of ship more water was coming into the ship. We both felt that soon the ship will sink and we all will die.



Word Meaning
Rode out Came out
Easing reducing
Sextant An instrument to measure angle

But our ship Wavewalker came out of the storm. By the morning of 6th January, speed of wind had reduced. I tried to determine our direction by measuring an angle through sextant.



Word Meaning
Worked on Considered, Took into consideration
Drift Movement, Shift
Looking for Searching

I went to the chartroom. I considered speed of wind, change of direction, movement of ship and direction of waves to calculate position of our ship. I calculated that we were in the ocean that had 150,000 square KM area. And we were trying to search an island that had an area of 65 square KM.



Word Meaning
Joined me Came near me, Came to me
Blackened Became black
Slit Very narrow opening

When I was doing such calculations, my daughter Sue came near me. She was suffering from lot of pain due to injury. Her head was now more swollen. She could open her eyes only slightly. Her eyes had become black. She had made a card. She gave me that card.



Word Meaning
Caricature Picture, Photo
As well Also

On the front of the card she had made photo of Marry and me. She had written words for us. These are some funny people. They always make people laugh. I also laughed a lot. Meaning that she was proud of her parents. Because they were fighting against a very bad situation.



Inside the card a message was written. I love both of you. Through this card I want to thank you. Let us be hopeful that best will happen to us. Somehow we need to overcome this difficult situation. She was trying to motivate her parents.



Word Meaning
Compass An instrument to measure angle
Spare Extra, Additional
Variation Error, Change

I checked my calculations. I checked them many times. We had lost our main compass. I was using the extra compass we had. But this compass was not accurate. It had an error because of it magnet.




Word Meaning
Allowance Provision, Assumption

I made a provision for this error in my calculations. I also made an estimate about the effect of waves that move towards west in this part of the Indian Ocean.



Word Meaning
Conviction Strong opinion,

At about 2 PM I went to the main floor of the ship. I asked Larry to move the ship in the direction of 185 degree angle. If we were lucky we should be able to see the island by about 5 PM. Although I was not confident about it but I told him as if it was my strong opinion.



Word Meaning
With heavy heart With lot of sadness
Amazingly Surprisingly
Dozed off Slept

Then with lot of sadness in my heart, I went to lower floor of the ship. I climbed on my bed. Surprisingly I slept. I woke up at 6 PM. It had started becoming dark.



Word Meaning
Beat back Go back

I was certain that we did not see the island. With the sail available with us, it was not possible to go back. Because the winds were blowing in west direction.



Word Meaning
Tousled head Head having uncombed hair

At that moment a head or face that had uncombed hair came to my bed. My son Jonathan asked me if he could give me a hug. Sue was also with him. I asked him why he wanted to give me a hug.



My son told me that I was the best father in this whole world. I was the best captain of a ship in this world.

I replied that I was sorry. But today I am not the best.



Word Meaning
Matter of fact Unemotional, Practical
Battleship War ship, Ship used in a war

My daughter Sue said in an unemotional voice that I should feel that I am the best. You have found the island. I was surprised. They said together that the island was in front of us. It was looking like a big war ship.



Word Meaning
Rushed Went quickly
Gazed Looked carefully
Stark Clear
Bleak Dull

I quickly went to the deck. I looked at the clear outlines of Ile Amsterdam island. It was a big relief. It was a dull island having only rocks. It did not have many trees or plants. But it was the most beautiful island of the world.



Word Meaning
Anchored To stop ship in one position
Offshore Away from the land
Inhabitants Residents
Ashore On the land

We stopped the ship in the sea at that location for the night. Next morning all the 28 residents of the island helped us to come on the land.



Word Meaning
Cheerful Happy
Optimistic Hopeful, Positive
Direst Most difficult, Very severe
Crucial hours Critical time

When I reached the land, I started appreciating Larry and Herbie. They remained happy and hopeful even under the very high level of stress. I also thought of Marry who had controlled wheel of the ship during very critical time.



I thought most about a seven year old girl. She did not want us to bother about her head injury. Later, this injury required six minor operations. These were required to control repeated formation of blood clot between her skull and skin. I also thought a lot about a six year old boy who was not afraid to die.





Samaj Sirka · August 30, 2021 at 2:57 am

Thank you so much sir
You are the best teacher ???

Komal Gill · August 30, 2021 at 4:09 pm

It was such an auspicious explanation of chapter.Thanks a lot sir??

Senthilkumar · October 24, 2021 at 5:43 am

Explained in a beautiful way !! Thank you so much

Tanushri · December 16, 2021 at 5:29 pm

Clear explanation! Thanks!

Preity Bhatnagar · May 1, 2023 at 4:38 pm

Extremely delighted to have found this site.A gr888 help!!!!!!

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