Thursday, July 10, 2003

Chap 12, part 5

I opened my eyes to our 21st day adrift to find DeAngelis shaking me as roughly as his failing strength would permit. He was gripping my shoulder and calling my name.

"Cut that out!" I yelled. "What's the matter with you?"

"Jim," he said, "I think you'd better take a look. It may be a mirage, but I think I see something."

I rolled over in the raft and sat up. There was no need for him to point. And it was no mirage. Across the horizon stretched a line of palm trees about 10 miles long. At that distance, about 12 miles, I couldn't see any actual land. But I felt safe in assuming there would be something substantial under those palms. There was no sign of the other rafts.

At 6:30 A.M. of Nov. 11, I broke out our two aluminum oars and began what was to be a 7 1/2 hour pull to put dry land under our feet. My two raft mates were in pitiable condition. DeAngelis could still move about, and that was all. He wanted to spell me on the row to the island, but a few minutes at a time were all he could manage.

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