After the mariner shoots the albatross, the crew is upset with him because they believe that the bird caused the breeze to blow. The crew is then stuck in the doldrums, and their ship does not move. Coleridge writes: "Day after day, day after day, / We stuck, nor breath nor motion; / As idle as a painted ship / Upon a painted ocean." In other words, their ship became as still as a painted ship, as it could not move without any wind to stir it. The men on the boat are parched without any access to drinking water, though sea water surrounds them everywhere.
Later, a ship appears on the distant horizon, and then the crew passes by a boat in which Death and a woman named "Life-in-Death," with skin as white as if she had been stricken with leprosy, are the only passengers. Immediately afterward, all 200 crew members except the mariner drop dead. Though the men all die, the mariner lives on in agony.