Hoseason comes to the Round-House and informs Alan and David that something is wrong. He asks them to come up, and points to several large rocks in the distance. Alan identifies them as the Torran Rocks, a series of large boulders that just out of the sea and pose a danger to ships. Alan is not sure, but he thinks there are fewer rocks closer to shore. Hoseason swings the ship closer to the shore, off the islet of Earraid, and just as the Covenant seems like it will make it through, the ship strikes a reef.
The men scramble to try and prepare a lifeboat, but David gets washed overboard. He grabs a piece of wood and hangs on until he is thrown up on the shore, thanking God that he is alive.
David finds himself on a small islet, cut off from the mainland by a small river. He tries to cross the river, but finds it is too wide and deep. He returns to the shore to get his piece of wood, planning to try and float across, but the yard has floated back out to sea.
David is now miserable. He begins eating raw shellfish. Sometimes he manages to keep them down, and other times they make him extremely sick. He is especially depressed because he can see a church and several houses on the mainland, but he knows he cannot cross the river.
The next day he sees, to his surprise, a red deer, which he realizes must have swum the river. He also discovers that he has lost all his money after the shipwreck. He sees some fisherman, and wildly hails them from the shore. But, to his shock, they only point and laugh at him.
The fishermen return later and, in broken English, reveal to him that the river gets very low at low tide. To his surprise and embarrassment, he finds he can practically hop across the river at low tide.