By this time the tide was beginning to ebb, and the ship was swinging round to her anchor.
"There’s a strong scour with the ebb," he said, "and this here passage has been dug out, in a manner of speaking, with a spade."
We were now close in; thirty or forty strokes and we should beach her, for the ebb had already disclosed a narrow belt of sand below the clustering trees.
The ebb-tide, which had so cruelly delayed us, was now making reparation and delaying our assailants.
The ebb has made a good while; our stores should be uncovered.
In the second place, the ebb was now making—a strong rippling current running westward through the basin, and then south’ard and seaward down the straits by which we had entered in the morning.
She had swung round to the ebb—her bow was now towards me—the only lights on board were in the cabin, and what I saw was merely a reflection on the fog of the strong rays that flowed from the stern window.
23 The Ebb-tide Runs THE coracle—as I had ample reason to know before I was done with her—was a very safe boat for a person of my height and weight, both buoyant and clever in a seaway; but she was the most cross-grained, lop-sided craft to manage.
First she loomed before me like a blot of something yet blacker than darkness, then her spars and hull began to take shape, and the next moment, as it seemed (for, the farther I went, the brisker grew the current of the ebb), I was alongside of her hawser and had laid hold.
The ebb had already run some time, and I had to wade through a long belt of swampy sand, where I sank several times above the ankle, before I came to the edge of the retreating water, and wading a little way in, with some strength and dexterity, set my coracle, keel downwards, on the surface.