A long stretch of coast lay before the eyes of the men.
Slowly, the land rose up out of the mountainous sea. The men
could see a small house against the sky. To the south, they
could see a lighthouse. Tide, wind and waves were pushing
the lifeboat northward. The men thought someone on land
would have seen the boat by now.
stretch: franja; lay: se extendía (to lie
/ lay / lain); rose up out: se
levantaba por encima de; mountainous sea: montañoso
mar (debido al fuerte oleaje); lighthouse: faro;
tide: la marea; northward: en dirección norte;
by now: a esta altura;
“Well,” said the captain, “I suppose we’ll have to attempt
to reach the shore ourselves. If we stay out here too long,
none of us will have the strength left to swim after the
to attempt to reach: intentar alcanzar; shore:
costa; none of us: a ninguno (de nosostros); will
have the strength left: le quedará fuerza; sinks:
Billie the sailor turned the boat straight for the shore.
marinero; straight to: en dirección a;
don’t all get ashore,” said the captain, “I suppose you
fellows know where to send news of my death?”
get ashore: alcanzamos la costa; death:
men then exchanged some information. There was a great deal
of anger in them. They thought: “If I am going to be drowned,
why, in the name of the seven mad gods who rule the sea, was
I permitted to come this far and think about sand and trees?”
enfado, enojo; to be drowned: a ahogarme; mad gods:
endemoniados dioses; who rule: que gobiernan; this
far: tan lejos;
waves grew stronger. They seemed always just about to break
and roll over the little boat. The coast was still far away.
The sailor said: “Boys, the boat won’t live three minutes
more, and we’re too far out to swim. Shall I take her to sea
stronger: crecían en volumen; won't live: no
Go ahead!” said the captain. The sailor turned the boat and
took her safely out to sea again.
safely to sea: dirigió el bote a salvo a mar abierto;
funny those life-saving people haven’t seen us,” one of the
people: personas salvavidas;
they think we’re out here for sport! Maybe they think we’re
fishing. Maybe they think we’re fools.”
more, the sailor rowed the boat and
then the reporter rowed. Suddenly, they saw a man walking
along the shore.
man stopped walking. He moved his hand in the air to wave at
them. He saw them! Now he was running to the house.
to wave at
them: para hacerles señas;
captain tied a cloth to a stick and waved it. Now there was
another man on the shore. The two men waved their hands in
the air, as if they were saying hello to the men in the boat.
tied a cloth to a stick: ató un trapo a un palo;
waved it: lo agitó;
Now, what was that moving on the shore? It was a bus – a
hotel bus. A man stood on the steps of the bus and waved his
coat over his head. The men in the boat wondered what he
wanted to say. Was he attempting to tell them something?
Should they wait for help? Should they go north? Should they
autobús de turismo; wondered: se preguntaban; what
he wanted to say: que intentaba decirles;
men waited and waited but nothing happened. The sun began to
go down. It got dark and cold. They could no longer see
anyone on the beach.
to go down: a ocultarse; they could no longer see:
ya no podían ver;
sailor rowed, and then the reporter rowed, and then the
sailor rowed again. They rowed and rowed through the long
night. The land had disappeared but they could hear the low
sound of the waves hitting the shore. This was surely a
shore: golpeando la orilla; surely: sin duda
cook finally spoke: “Billie, what kind of pie do you like
what kind of pie: ¿que tipo de pastel?; do you like
best?: ¿te gusta más?;
said the sailor and the reporter angrily. “Don’t talk about
“Well,” said the cook, “I was just thinking about ham
sandwiches, and …”
angrily: enfadados, enojados;
night on the sea in an open boat is a long night. The sailor
continued to row until his head fell forward and sleep
overpowered him. Then he asked the reporter to row for a
while. They exchanged places so the sailor could sleep in
the bottom of the boat with the cook and the captain.
fell forward: cayó hacia adelante; sleep overpowered
him: el sueño lo venció; for a while: durante
algún tiempo; in the bottom: en el fondo;
reporter thought that he was the one man afloat
on all the oceans in the world. The wind had a sad voice as
it came over the waves.
the one man float: el único hombre a flote; sad voice:
Suddenly, there was a long, loud swishing sound behind the
boat and a shining trail of silvery blue. It might have been
made by a huge knife. Then there was another swish and
another long flash of bluish light, this time alongside the
boat. The reporter saw a huge fin speed like a shadow
through the water, leaving a long glowing trail. The thing
kept swimming near the boat. He noted its speed and power.
The reporter wished the men would wake up. He did not want
to be alone with the shark.
loud swishing sound: fuerte sonido de silbido;
shining trail of silvery blue: brillante estela de azul
plateado; it might have been made by a huge knife:
parecía como el corte de un enorme cuchillo; blush light:
reflejo azulado; a huge fin: una enorme aleta;
speed: pasar a toda velocidad; wished the men would
wake up: rogaba que los hombres se despertaran; shark:
reporter thought as he rowed. He was angry that they had
come so close to land and yet might still die at sea. Then
he remembered a poem that he had learned as a child. It was
a poem about a soldier of the French Foreign Legion. The
soldier lay dying in Algiers. Just before he died, he cried
out: “I shall never see my own, my native land.” And now,
many years after he had learned this poem, the reporter for
the first time understood the sadness of the dying soldier.
might still die at sea: y a pesar de eso morir en el mar;
Foreign Legion: Legión Extranjera; lay dying:
yacía moribundo; the sadness: la amargura;
passed. The reporter asked the sailor to take the oars so
that he could rest. It seemed like only a brief period, but
it was more than an hour later, when the sailor returned the
oars to the reporter. They both knew that only they could
keep the boat from sinking. And so they rowed, hour after
hour, through the night.
oars: remos; keep the boat from sinking: impedir
que el bote se hundiera;
day came, the four men saw land again. But there were no
people on the shore. A conference was held on the boat.
a conference was held: una reunión se llevó a cabo;
“Well,” said the captain, “if no help is coming, we might
better try to reach the shore right away. If we stay out
here much longer, we will be too weak to do anything for
ourselves at all.”
too weak to
do anything: demasiado débiles para hacer frente a algo;
others agreed. They began to turn the boat toward the beach.
The captain told them to be careful – that when the boat
came near the beach, the waves would sink it. Then everyone
should jump out of the boat and swim to the shore.
agreed: estuvieron de acuerdo; toward: hacia;
the waves would sink it: las olas lo hundirían;
boat came closer to land, the waves got bigger and more
violent. At last, a large wave climbed into the air and fell
on the small boat with great force.
as the boat
came closer to land: a medida que el bote se aproximaba
boat turned over as the men jumped into the sea. The water
was like ice. The reporter was tired. But he swam toward the
beach. He looked for his friends.
the boat turned over as the men: el bote se dio vuelta
cuando los hombres;
Billie, the sailor, in front of him, swimming strongly and
quickly. The cook was near him. Behind, the captain held on
to the overturned boat with his one good hand. Soon, the
reporter could swim no longer. A current was carrying him
back out to sea. He thought: “Am I going to drown? Can it be
am I going to drown?: ¿me voy a ahogar?;
the current suddenly changed and he was able to swim toward
the shore. The captain called to him to swim to the boat and
hold on. The reporter started to swim toward the boat. Then
he saw a man running along the shore. He was quickly taking
off his shoes and clothes.
corriente del agua; taking off his shoes: sacándose
reporter got close to the boat, a large wave hit him and
threw him into the air over the boat and far from it. When
he tried to get up, he found that the water was not over his
head, only half way up his body. But he was so tired that he
could not stand up. Each wave threw him down, and the
current kept pulling him back to sea.
each wave threw him down: cada ola lo tiraba al fondo;
he saw the man again, jumping into the water. The man pulled
the cook to the shore. Then he ran back into the water for
the captain. But the captain waved him away and sent him to
the reporter. The man seized the reporter’s hand and pulled
him to the beach. Then the man pointed to the water and
cried: “What’s that?”
seized: agarró con fuerza;
shallow water, face down, lay Billie, the sailor.
shallow: poco profunda; face down: cabeza abajo;
reporter did not know all that happened after that. He fell
on the sand as if dropped from a housetop. It seems that
immediately the beach was filled with men with blankets,
clothes and whiskey. Women brought hot coffee. The people
welcomed the men from the sea to the land.
as if dropped from a housetop: como si hubiese caído
desde un tejado; blankets: frazadas;
still and dripping shape was carried slowly up the beach.
And the land’s welcome for the sailor’s body could only be
its final resting place. When night came, the white waves
moved in the moonlight. The wind brought the sound of the
great sea’s voice to the men on the shore.
still and dripping shape: un cuerpo inerte y goteando
(el marinero muerto); was carried slowly: fue
transportado lentamente; in the moonlight: a la luz
de la luna.