Narg Island - The Situation
2:45 p.m., Sunday, June 5th
You are sailing on the 15-metre yacht 'The Pel' in the centre of a 10-km wide stretch of one of the most beautiful and remote Norwegian Fjords. The boat is close to the southern tip of Narg Island, which is a bare expanse of rock located approximately in the middle of the wide Fjord.
Bjorn, the skipper is shouting to you over the noise of a sudden, severe storm.
"Here, take the wheel and keep her away from the rocks."
Suddenly the wheel goes loose in your hands. The rudder has snapped!
"Oh No! There goes the rigging…. "
"Loose the sail before she breaks!"
Over the sound of the storm everyone hears the noise of the mast breaking.
"Stand clear, everyone…"
"Push the mast out overboard before it knocks anyone out!"
"Someone get below and start the engines."
Nils-Erik emerges from below, looking worried.
"The engine compartment is completely flooded and we are taking on water fast."
"The radio is dead. So are the rest of the electrical systems!"
"Quick, get your life jackets on. Abandon ship!"
The rudderless ship is now at the mercy of the storm, with 3 to 4 metre waves and 70 km/hr winds pushing you towards the cruel rocks of Narg Island.
Bjorn, the skipper, shouts:
"Stand by… we're going to hit the island!"
"Everyone jump overboard and head for the shore!"
3:03 p.m., Sunday, June 5th
As Bjorn predicted, the boat hits the rocks of Narg Island and is smashed. The cruel waves destroy everything. Even the small inflatable lifeboat is destroyed. The boat sinks rapidly into the extreme depths of the Fjord. Thankfully, you manage to scramble up the rocks in the raging storm.
"Help me." cries Solveig. She is covered in blood from cuts over her arms and legs.
"Quick, let's take cover out of the storm in the sheltered cove on the other side of these rocks!"
"My God! This is the worst storm I've ever seen!"
"Look! There is Bjorn, floating in the water. Quick, help me get him up out of the water!"
"Does anyone know first aid?"
"He's out cold. Quick, stand back! I'll have to try mouth to mouth!"
"Look at his arm… it's bent over double and black."
"That looks bad."
"Does anyone have any ideas what we can do?"
3:12 p.m., Sunday, June 5th
All of your group are out of the raging seas and are sheltering from the worst of the storm in a small cove. Your leader, Bjorn, looks in bad shape. After mouth to mouth resuscitation he has started breathing again, but his arm is obviously badly broken and is swelling. He has not regained consciousness and seems to have a fever. The rest of you are in better shape. Your injuries are limited to a few deep cuts, but you are feeling very wet and cold.
Before "The Pel" went to its watery grave, you each managed to grab some items from the boat; you have added some other things from the remains of the wreckage that smashed against the rocks after the boat went down. A list of the items is here.
You wanted an adventure holiday, but not like this! It has been 7 days since you rented the boat from Bergen harbour for a 14-day bare-boat charter in the fjords. (Bare-boating is chartering a boat without a professional skipper and crew.)
Since leaving Bergen, 'The Pel' has visited several points along the coast, always heading north for the remote beauty in that area. Most recently, you sailed around the northern tip of Hammerfest and spent last night in the small town of Børselv.
This morning, all of you spent two hours scuba diving in dry suits off Maelstrom Rock near Narg Island. Suddenly, a violent storm came up, causing enough concern for Bjorn to decide to weigh anchor and head for the nearest harbour (uninhabited) 30 km further, at the far end of the fjord.
The cove in which you are sheltering is about 400 metres from the rocks where the boat was lost. The water bordering the island is very deep (500m); the cliffs and rocks around the edge of the island are bare and dangerous. They range in height from 200 to 300 metres. The beach is about 30 metres long and 8 metres deep, rising sharply into rocky and rugged terrain. The only inhabitants of the islands are the huge gulls that nest on the top of some of the higher cliffs. Narg Island is a very remote place. Only occasionally does a cruise or any other boat visit this end of the fjord, which is uninhabited and somewhat foreboding.
Sometimes on summer weekends, Maelstorm Rock attracts experienced scuba divers who want a deep dive in icy waters. Narg Island itself is mountainous, with sheer cliffs rising from the sea to about 200 metres alolng most of the island's perimeter. It is a very rocky and rugged terrain with little vegetation. There are several small scrubby trees that tell of very severe weather. Animal life is limited to a large colony of gulls and an occasional seal which suns itself on the low beaches during warm weather. There is no fresh water on the island.
Air temperature in the area for June is typically 15-22 degrees centigrade during the day and 7-10 degrees centigrade at night, with 12 to 18 knot winds. The relative humidity is about 60 to 65 percent. During storms, the temperature is known to drop suddenly some 20 degrees or more. In the very worst summer weather, snow is not unknown!!
Water temperature in June is 10 to 13 degrees. Fog is pretty constant in this part of the fjord, and this time of the year brings heavy rainfall and brief storms, which may last up to 48 hours. Sunrise is 3.10 a.m. and sunset is 23.15 p.m.
"Jan, what possessed Bjorn to choose this place?"
"Simple. The island provides some shelter from the storm. When Bjorn realised he would not make it to the end of the fjord, he hoped we could hide from the worst of the storm behind the island."
"At least we are all out of the water!"
"Yes, that's true. But now we need to decide what to do next. Any suggestions?"
"I wish Bjorn was awake - he would know what to do."
"I think we should wait for the storm to settle and then send the best swimmer out to swim for the mainland and then walk for help."
"You're crazy! That water is freezing and it's a 120km walk to the nearest habitation."
"Athletes swim the fjords all the time. 120 km is only a 3 days' walk. I'm for making an escape."
"I think we should make a raft and try and float our way to land."
"You can both drown if you like. I'm staying put, at least until the storm ends."
3:34 p.m., Sunday, June 5th
You are all still in the cove, sheltering from the storm. The winds seem to be dropping, but so does the temperature. What was a sunny, warm day now feels close to freezing and a heavy rain has started. Bjorn does not look good, and you are all worried about him.
You are all dressed in lightweight summer clothes or bathing suits. One of you has a pair of deck shoes on, but the rest are barefoot. You all empty your pockets and find the following: 12,670 Norwegian Kroner in bills, 124 Kroner in coins, 2 handkerchiefs, 1 scarf, one pair of nail scissors and one pack of cosmetics with a mirror.
Now that you have survived the shipwreck, it is critical that you decide how to deal with the situation.
Click here for instructions.