Descending towards the canoe, he fancied the wind had veered considerably. He sat down in the boat, and took some food; it was without relish, as he had nothing to drink, and the great heat had tired him. Wearily, and without thinking, he pushed off the canoe; she slowly floated out, when, as he was about to hoist up the sail, a tremendous gust of wind struck him down on the thwarts, and nearly carried him overboard. He caught the mast as he fell, or over he must have gone into the black waves. Before he could recover himself, she drifted against the ledge of rocks, which broke down and sank before the bow, so that she passed over uninjured.
Felix got out a paddle, and directed the canoe as well as he could; the fury of the wind was irresistible, and he could only drive before it. In a few minutes, as he was swept along the shore, he was carried between it and another immense reef. Here, the waves being broken and less powerful, he contrived to get the heavy canoe ashore again, and, jumping out, dragged her up as far as he could on the land. When he had done this, he found to his surprise that the gale had ceased. The tremendous burst of wind had been succeeded by a perfect calm, and the waves had already lost their violent impetus.
This was a relief, for he had feared that the canoe would be utterly broken to pieces; but soon he began to doubt if it were an unmixed benefit, as without a wind he could not move from this dismal place that evening. He was too weary to paddle far. He sat on the canoe to rest himself, and, whether from fatigue or other causes, fell asleep. His head heavily dropping on his chest partly woke him several times, but his lassitude overcame the discomfort, and he slept on. When he got up he felt dazed and unrefreshed, as if sleeping had been hard work. He was extremely thirsty, and oppressed with the increasing heat. The sun had sunk, or rather was so low that the high ground hid it from sight.
The thought struck Felix that perhaps he might find a spring somewhere in the island, and he started at once up over the hill. At the top he paused. The sun had not sunk, but had disappeared as a disk. In its place was a billow of blood, for so it looked, a vast up-heaved billow of glowing blood surging on the horizon. Over it flickered a tint of palest blue, like that seen in fire. The black waters reflected the glow, and the yellow vapour around was suffused with it. Though momentarily startled, Felix did not much heed these appearances; he was still dazed and heavy from his sleep.