It was a cold, vaporous dawn, the glass rising, and the wind fallen to a light air still from the north-east. Our creased and sodden sails scarcely answered to it as we crept across the oily swell to Langeoog. 'Fogs and calms,' Davies prophesied. The Blitz was astir when we passed her, and soon after steamed out to sea. Once over the bar, she turned westward and was lost to view in the haze. I should be sorry to have to explain how we found that tiny anchor-buoy, on the expressionless waste of grey. I only know that I hove the lead incessantly while Davies conned, till at last he was grabbing overside with the boat-hook, and there was the buoy on deck. The cable was soon following it, and finally the rusty monster himself, more loathsome than usual, after his long sojourn in the slime.
'That's all right,' said Davies. 'Now we can go anywhere.'
'Well, it's Norderney, isn't it? We've settled that.'
'Yes, I suppose we have. I was wondering whether it wouldn't be shortest to go inside the Langeoog after all.'
'Surely not,' I urged. 'The tide's ebbing now, and the light's bad; it's new ground, with a "watershed" to cross, and we're safe to get aground.'
'All right--outside. Ready about.' We swung lazily round and headed for the open sea. I record the fact, but in truth Davies might have taken me where he liked, for no land was visible, only a couple of ghostly booms.
'It seems a pity to miss over that channel,' said Davies, with a sigh; 'just when the Kormoran can't watch us.' (We had not seen her at all this morning.)
I set myself to the lead again, averse to reopening a barren argument. Grimm had done his work for the present, I felt certain, and was on his way by the shortest road to Norderney and Memmert.
We were soon outside and heading west, our boom squared away and the island sand-dunes just apparent under our lee. Then the breeze died to the merest draught, and left us rolling inert in a long swell. Consumed with impatience to get on I saw fatality in this