The Riddle of the Sands

The Riddle of the Sands

When Carruthers joins his friend Arthur Davies on his yacht Dulcibella, he is expecting a pleasant sailing holiday in the Baltic Sea. But the holiday turns into an adventure of a different kind.

He and Davies soon find themselves sailing in the stormy waters of the North Sea, exploring the channels and sandbanks around the German Frisian Islands, and looking for a secret – a secret that could mean great danger for England.



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  1. account a description of something that has happened, a story
  2. aground (run/go aground) if a ship runs/goes aground, it touches the ground in shallow water and cannot move
  3. anchor (n & v) a heavy metal object attached to a ship or boat that is dropped into the water to keep the ship in one place
  4. astonish (v) to surprise someone very much; astonishment (n)
  5. barge a large boat with a flat bottom, used on rivers and canals
  6. binoculars special glasses for seeing the details of distant objects
  7. buoy an object that floats on the sea and marks the places where boats can or cannot go
  8. cabin a room on a boat
  9. channel a deep passage of water near a coast that can be used as a route for ships
  10. chart a map of the sea, rivers, etc., used for sailing
  11. colony a country that is governed by people from another, more powerful country
  12. compass an instrument for finding direction, with a needle that always points to the north
  13. crew the people who work on a boat or ship
  14. deck (on deck) the floor of a ship
  15. defence the protection of somebody or something from attack
  16. dinghy a small open boat that you sail or row
  17. document written or printed paper with important information
  18. duck (n) a common bird that lives on or near water
  19. effort an attempt to do something difficult
  20. embarrassed ashamed; worried about what other people think
  21. faint (adj) feeling weak and tired
  22. fiord a long narrow strip of sea between high cliffs
  23. Foreign Office the British government office in charge of relations with foreign countries
  24. Frau / Fräulein the German words for ‘Mrs’ and ‘Miss’
  25. gentlemen a formal way to speak to a group of men
  26. helm a handle or wheel used for steering a ship
  27. Herr the German word for ‘Mr’
  28. identity who somebody is
  29. immunity being protected from trial for a crime
  30. interrupt to break into a conversation when someone else is talking
  31. invade to send soldiers into a country to take control of it;
  32. invasion (n)
  33. Kaiser the title of the German national leader at this time
  34. launch (n) a large motor boat
  35. lead line a line with a heavy weight at the end, used to measure the depth of water
  36. log-book the official record of a journey on a ship
  37. loyal staying faithful to somebody or something
  38. mast a tall pole on a ship that supports the sails
  39. monument a building, statue, etc. That reminds people of a famous person or event
  40. navy the part of a country’s armed forces that fights at sea, and the ships that it uses;naval (adj)
  41. oar a long pole with a flat blade at one end used to move a boat through the water
  42. on board on a boat or ship
  43. pilot a person whose job is to guide ships through a difficult piece of water
  44. publish to prepare and print a book;
  45. publication (n)
  46. rehearse to practise something in preparation for the real event in the future; rehearsal (n)
  47. riddle a mysterious situation or event that you cannot explain
  48. sandbank a low hill or raised area of sand in a river or the sea
  49. short cut a quicker or shorter way of getting to a place
  50. skill being able to do something well; The Riddle of the Sands(adj)
  51. splash (n & v) the sound when something hits liquid
  52. stepmother a woman who is married to your father but who is not your real mother
  53. telegram a short, urgent message sent by electric current along wires, and then printed and delivered
  54. traitor someone who does something disloyal to his country
  55. trust (v) to have confidence in someone
  56. tug a small powerful boat for pulling ships
  57. wreck (n) a ship that has sunk or been badly damaged
  58. yacht a large sailing boat, used for racing or pleasure trips


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