Jie found that steering the flat-bottomed motor boat at sea is not nearly as easy as it is on the mirror-like surface of the River Teal as the boat is rocked around by the waves, leading to a few green faces among the party members.
During the trip, they have been speaking with Captain Billy. Although they give him the story that they are members of the PDF, he seems quite sympathetic to their goals. As a result, they let him pilot the boat through the choppy waters of the ocean, although one of the party members keeps watch on him all the time.
With Captain Billy at the helm, they make good progress during the first day of travel, despite the fact that the weather is worsening as the wind whips up the waves and it’s starting to rain quiet heavily. Captain Billy takes the night shift while Jie takes the day shift.
By the end of the first day, they have rounded the head north of Thamwich and start to head south. During the second day, the weather is getting pretty bad. Rations are starting to run out and they are on the last of the barrels of fuel now. They decide to carry on travelling as far as they can though.
Around 17.00, the boat is 50km east of Nilshaven there is an almighty jolt which knocks everyone off their feet. Jie tries to restart the engine, but the boat is not moving and there is a horrible grinding sound from the rear of the boat. Captain Billy, awoken by the jolt, comes to check on the situation. He tells them that they have run aground on a sandbank – always a problem when navigating without charts.
Grim eases himself down to take a look at the rear of the boat. The propeller is damaged – the boat isn’t going anywhere any time soon. They are just 500m from the shore and the sea is shallow here (which is why they ran aground in the first place). Everyone dons life jackets and then they scuttle the boat by hacking holes into its fibreglass hull with their machetes before heading for the shore.
Half an hour later and everyone is safely on the shore, exhausted but safe. As dusk falls, they head up the shingle beach and rest a while to get their breath back. They decide to head back to Nilshaven on foot so as not to alert the police by stealing anything.
This part of the countryside is not nearly as densely populated as the Teal Valley and the party members make their way through shrubland for kilometer after kilometer. It’s a long night hike, but at least the terrain is fairly easy to traverse. As dawn breaks, they have managed 40km of the journey before they decide that they need to get some rest and so find some bushes to rest up under during the day.