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The cabin "was already under water. I was the last man on the boat. That is what a skipper must do. He must make sure that his crew is safe and only then can he get off the boat. I jumped into the water and tried to swim to the Dorothy [not the boat’s real name]. "I had just grabbed onto the edge of the boat when the men screamed at me that there was a big wave coming. They held on to me, dragging me along with the boat, as the wave broke. Then they pulled me in." Riaan Thompson looks directly ahead as he tells this, his voice slow and heavy. He is a big man. At least 6ft tall and, at 43, still relatively young. But in that remembered moment, he appears again to be gripped by a paralysing fear. We are sitting in my car, out of the chilly wind. Behind us is the sea and I am imagining him lost in it, a chaotic and ruthless sea, poised to suck the air out of his lungs and drag him down to its depths. A group of fishers troop past. We watch as they file into the hall opposite. Today, Ap...

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