We began to wonder when someone would notice that we had not returned. We had not given a precise time about coming back, only a general idea."What time will Rebekah realize something's wrong?" we asked Marquis. "When is she gonna call to report us overdue?"

Marquis said he usually called her when the boat was about five miles out from shore. Last weekend, he had called her at eight thirty or nine. He told her he would be home earlier this time. Still, he wasn't sure at what point she would become alarmed.

"There's times I told her we would be earlier and then we have good fishing and I'm later," Marquis said while kneeling on the hull. But he added, "There's no way she wouldn't call the Coast Guard by two o'clock."

We figured it would be much later than that before someone came looking for us.

I have a fear of sharks, and around eight o'clock I asked, "Is there any chance sharks could get us right now?"

"No, don't worry, they're too stupid," Will said.

Marquis also said not to worry about it. "They'd be afraid of that big white boat," he said. "They think it's another animal."

Their reassurances calmed me. I didn't really think about it again that night. There were plenty of other things to worry about.

It was dark. My teeth were constantly chattering. All of our teeth were chattering. I was still sick, a little nauseous from earlier and from the constant bucking of the boat, but I didn't feel nearly as bad as before.

"God it's cold," Corey said.

The waves kept pounding us. Marquis was in a precarious position atop the hull, trying to secure the cooler, nothing really firm to hold on to except my leg. He slid one way, then the other. He would nearly go off one side, and we would grab him and pull him up.

I desperately kept trying to hold on to the Ziploc bag so I wouldn't lose the phones, keys, and wallets. I probably should have put the bag in my coat pocket, but it didn't occur to me. I was still in the same position, my left hand on the motor and my right hand free, like I was riding a bull. I held on to that bag as tight as I could.

"Try it again," Corey kept saying about the phone. Every time, I got the same response: no service.

Marquis kept climbing back into position on the hull, but he looked fatigued. He was in tremendous shape, but he had almost no body fat to insulate him against the cold. "You good?" we kept asking him.

"Yeah, I'm good," he said, but he seemed tired.

The waves seemed to get rougher after sunset. And a little louder. Consistent eight-footers now. They were capping.

The storm was coming in.

Nick tells his survival story to Oprah

The foregoing is excerpted from Not Without Hope by Nick Schuyler. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022.


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