Back To The Ship Safely & Happily

Back To The Ship Safely & Happily

When I woke it was day, the weather clear, and the storm clouds gone. The tide had lifted the ship off the sandbank, almost as far as the rock which I had held on to. I wished I could get on to the ship and save some useful things.

When I came down from my tree, I looked about me again and saw the boat, lying where the wind and waves had thrown it upon the land, about two miles to my right. I walked towards it, but found half a mile of water between me and the boat. So I turned my mind towards the ship instead.

When I woke it was day, the weather clear, and the storm clouds gone. The tide had lifted the ship off the sandbank, almost as far as the rock which I had held on to.

The sea was very peaceful. I saw that I could easily swim to the ship as the tide was far out. I realized sadly that if my companions and I had only stayed on the ship, we would all have been safe. This forced tears from my eyes. There was little help in that, so I decided, if possible, to get to the ship. I pulled off my clothes, for the weather was very hot, and went into the water.

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I did not know how to get on to the ship. It lay high out of the water, and there seemed no way of climbing up. But I swam round it, and noticed a small piece of rope hanging down. With some difficulty I took hold of it, and got into the ship. It had a great deal of water in it, but lay on the sandbank in such a way that its back part was high and dry. My first thought was to search, to see what was spoilt, and what was not.

The ship’s food was dry and untouched by the water. I filled my pockets with hard bread, and ate it while I did other things, for I had no time to lose. I found some rum, and took a good drink. Now all I needed was a boat to carry all these useful things to the shore. Of course, there was none. However, we had plenty of spare wood, so I built a raft.

I threw some wood into the sea, tying every piece with a rope so that they would not be carried away. When this was done, I went down the ship’s side. I tied four pieces together in the form of a raft, and laid another two or three pieces across. Although I could walk on it very well, it would not take much weight. So with some tools I added more pieces.

Now able weight. My next job was to load it. First I laid my raft was strong enough to take a reason raft flat floating structure of wood etc. used for transport.

on it all the boards and planks I could get. Then I got three of the sailor’s chests. These I broke open and emptied, and lowered them to my raft. I filled the first chest with bread, three Dutch cheeses, five pieces of dried meat, and some corn. I found several cases of bottles belonging to our Captain and took these too.

While I was doing this, the tide began to go out, carrying away my coat and shirt from the place I had left them on the sand. Now I had only my trousers and stockings, so I looked for clothes. I found plenty but took no more than I needed, for other things were more important. After a long search I found a workman’s chest, and lowered it onto the raft. It was worth more to me than a ship- load of gold.

I also wanted weapons, and some bullets and powder. I found two excellent guns. I took these, and two old swords. I knew there were some barrels of powder and with much search I found them. Two were dry and good, but the third had water in it. I put the two good barrels on my raft, with the weapons. Now my problem was to get on the shore with my loaded raft, for the least wind could turn it over. But I was lucky; the sea was peaceful, and both wind and ride helped me.

So, with oars from the ship, I rowed for shore. The tide carried me up the mouth of a little river I looked for a place to get to shore. I did not want to be driven too far up the river, in case a ship passed, and I missed it.

At last I saw a safe place and with great difficulty I guided my raft so near that, reaching ground with my oar, I could push the raft to the shore. But the bank was high and the back of the raft would get wet. I had to wait until high tide, keeping the raft near a flat piece of ground. When the water covered this flat ground. I pushed the raft onto it and fastened it there by sticking two broken oars into the ground, one at each end. I stayed there until the water drew back, and left my raft and its load safe on shore.

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