The tanks never showed the slightest chance of failure after that, and the small engine worked perfectly. However, our confidence in the equipment had gone and we agreed not to go too far from Dog Island again.
Eventually a call came on the radio that we were to be pulled off the island. A much more violent storm was heading south and we were in the path. When the boatman arrived, we loaded all of the gear and made ready to leave.
At this point my companion decided he wanted to drive back in the inflatable boat. He was keen that I should join him so that my weight would counteract the natural bounce of the craft. I declined, but placed all the sacks of rubbish in the bows to help with the balance.
We tied the inflatable to the big boat. It was very fortunate the we did. Half way home, the blue skies and calm conditions disappeared to be replaced by raging seas, howling wind and sleet. I dared not look back to see what was happening. It was bad enough in the large boat, weighted down with tons of equipment.
When the boatman sought sanctuary on a small island, we hauled in the inflatable and discovered my companion huddled in the stern, covered in squashed bananas, potato peeling and old carrots. When I helped him onshore he was unable to respond to anything more than the simplest questions.
We worried that this was the start of the storm, so we abandoned the inflatable and some other equipment and set off into the mountainous seas. My companion sat in the stern, head down, arms around himself, while I took up position at the bows, lying across the equipment and keeping my body flat.
The sea conditions were far worse than anything we encountered on our way out, but my blood stream was so full of adrenalin that I barely noticed the cold. By the time we reached the end of Paul Island, the sun was shining and the sea smooth again. It had been a violent squall, not the start of a storm.
We dumped my companion at Nain quayside and headed back to get the inflatable and all the other supplies that we’d abandoned. On our return, he’d recovered enough to start searching through the supplies and sample canisters for his personal effects and plane tickets back to St John’s Newfoundland.