By Stuart Carruthers
Copyright 2012 Stuart Carruthers
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---All at Sea---
The sun beats down and the bright orange canopy above me begins to wilt in the heat of the early morning sun. It’s only 10am and it’s already as hot as Hades, the canopy does little to protect us. I can't get comfortable and I'm left wondering how I end up in these situations. It's been nearly two years since I found myself dehydrated and covered in sores in the middle of the Gobi and now I find myself bobbing around somewhere between the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea, inside a black-hulled orange-canopied life raft, with only my oldest friend in the world Guy, for company. How Guy and I came to be together again will become clear, but for now it’s enough to say that we’re getting sick of each other's company. Three days stuck in a glorified rubber dinghy that’s about the size of a kid’s paddling pool with nowhere to go will make you slightly claustrophobic. There is nothing to do, I mean nothing. Guy and I jumped into the one remaining life raft, as the boat that we were on sank into the ocean.
The captain, far from going down with his ship, had jettisoned his life raft and jumped from the stern, his mate following closely behind. Guy had grabbed the last remaining life and thrown it into the darkness below where it exploded into life. Guy and I followed the raft, landing in the sea moments after it took shape. We hauled our soaking wet semi-clothed bodies on board and lay there, panting with exhaustion, trying to catch our breath whilst coughing sea water from our mouths. We had no idea what had happened and barely had time to think as we heard the final death rattle of the ship as it was pulled towards its watery grave. There we lay in our very wet underwear trying to get our heads around what had just happened.