For three days and nights we remained between, decks, with the hatches battened down, not knowing but that each moment might be our last. The noise was deafening, while the violent motion of the vessel made the getting about from one part of the ship to another difficult and dangerous. Food and water we obtained with difficulty, not at regular intervals, but when opportunity offered, crawling from one to another, and helping those who, from exhaustion, were least able to help themselves. The air became so foul in the cabin as to cause the ship’s lanterns to burn dimly, so that we feared they would soon be extinguished. Thus we lived amid the raging elements, shut up in a storm-tossed coffin which we knew might go to pieces at any moment.
At length, on the third day, Hartog ventured to open one of the hatches, when a rush of cool air came to us as we lay gasping below, bringing with it new life and vigour. The hurricane had passed, and although the wind and sea still ran high, we were told we might come on deck. But the happiness we felt at being released from our dreadful imprisonment was checked when we saw the havoc which had been wrought by the wind and the waves upon our ship. The decks were swept clean, the masts gone by the board, the larboard bulwarks stove in, while the cook’s galley had disappeared.
All hands now set to work to cut away the wreckage of our masts and rigging, which, as the ship rolled in the trough of the sea, threatened to stave in the hull as the spars dashed against it with each recoil. Had it not been that the “Golden Seahorse” was a new ship, upon which no expense had been spared in the building, we must have foundered. But it was amid such scenes of storm and stress that the indomitable spirit of Dirk Hartog asserted itself, and seemed to animate both officers and crew with something of his own courage and determination. Forgetting the hardships and privations through which we had passed, we set to work, under the magic of his influence, with such goodwill that, in the space of some six hours, order had been evolved out of chaos, and our vessel once more rode the sea in safety. The pumps were then manned, when it was found that although much water was in the hold, it was easily gained upon, from which we concluded that no leak had sprung in our timbers, notwithstanding the battering they had received. Jury-masts were then rigged, upon which sufficient sail was set to give the ship steering way, when we hoped to make a harbour where we might refit, and effect necessary repairs.