Soon after Captain Goanna retires from the sea as a light house keeper - there is a furious storm. The Captain's wife is woken during the night with a dream in which a sailor is calling for help from the rocks at the base of the cliff. The Captain puts on his oilskin socks and goes to investigate. He can only hear the howl of the wind. Half way down the Jacobs ladder he sees, through the spray, the terrible wreckage of the Dunbar and a lone sailor caught by the huge breakers - tearing him away.
The Captain cannot quite reach him because the ladder has rusted below. Each wave brings the sailor closer - only to suck him away again. But the Captain's knowledge of rope and of the seventh and largest wave known as `hope' allow him to outwit the sea. He uses the fullness of the wave to get hold of the half drowned sailor and carry him up to safety and his wife's hot soup.
In the calm of the morning, wreckage is everywhere. The sailor is the only survivor. After they have collected the bodies the Captain arranges for the Dunbar's anchor to be placed at the top of the cliff as a memorial to all who perished.
* The Dunbar was carrying coins from England. In 1857 a southerly gale overcame her at the South Head of Sydney Harbour. These events and the keeper's wife's dream are true.