They were now in a great dilemma, for they were uncertain which way to proceed, and Mr. Malcolm endeavoured to persuade the men to return to the beach, assuring them that it was quite useless their proceeding any further, for they did not know where they were going; but they turned a deaf ear to every argument, declaring that they would walk as long as they were able. Mr. Price, the merchant, agreed with the rest of the men, and urged them to continue their journey, in the hopes that they might be seen by some coasting boats going to Belize. This was Saturday night; and after toiling all day, they had only walked ten miles from where they had left Mr. McDonnell. The next morning Mr. Malcolm again entreated the men to remain, but it was of no avail, and they recommenced their march.
The men continued to walk together until Tuesday evening, subsisting upon cocoa-nuts, which they gathered on their way, when Malcolm was obliged to be left behind, as he was unable to walk any further. The next morning he was found by some natives, and taken to Ambegris Cay, where the men had arrived the previous evening.
We must now return to the fate of the cutter, which it will be remembered left the wreck on the morning of the 28th of February, taking the raft in tow. They endeavoured to return to the schooner, but the current proving too strong, they were obliged to abandon the attempt, and ran before the wind until they made a sand-bore, on the south end of the reef, about an hour afterwards.
They then cut the raft adrift, and landed the men that were in the cutter, sending the boat back with two men to carry the rest off the raft, as it was impossible to bring the raft to the sand-bore. It was about seven o’clock in the evening when they were all safely landed, the cutter being at this time in such a condition, that she could not have floated, even in smooth water, without baling.
They then dragged the boat up the beach, where they remained until daylight next morning, the 1st of March. Mr. Nopps, master’s-assistant, who was the commanding officer of the party, determined to leave the majority of the men on the sand-bore, and proceed to the wreck; he accordingly started with five men in the cutter, in hopes of reaching the schooner, but as it blew strongly from the northward, and the boat had no jib or mizen, and the mainmast and sprit sprung, they found it impossible to beat to windward. In this condition, as there was no appearance of the wind abating, and nothing to eat except some salt pork, and only two beakers of water, one of which had been drunk during the night, Mr. Nopps considered it his duty to take the boat with these five men, and run for the first place they could fetch, hoping to reach Belize, which was nearly before the wind.
For two days they scudded before the wind, without being able to set any sail, and had passed at least forty miles to the southward of Belize, before the wind abated; during this time they suffered severely from want of water, the last beaker having been finished, and the salt pork increasing their thirst. It was not until twelve o’clock on Tuesday, the 3rd of March, that they arrived in Belize roads, and were taken on board the Fly.