He shook his head. If these are your last hours, he thought, at least put up a fight. He took a deep breath and began swimming. I'm not dying until I see her again. If they can't find me, I'll find them. Or land. It can be done. Remember the Burmese who fell overboard off West Africa 100 miles from land, and all he did was follow the rising sun, swimming no more than maybe 15 miles a day—drank rain, even caught a fish that came close out of curiosity. He knew that as long as he kept on, endured, and sang—yes, that was a big thing, wasn't it? He sang, sea songs and folk songs, even lullabies his mother used to sing. Over and over, songs without a break, for hours on end. He sang and swam for six days; the ship's log bore him witness. By then he had no strength for singing, not even humming, but he kept thinking the songs. And on the evening of the sixth day, he heard a song. A new song. And he saw, with swollen eyes, a sand spit of the shore. His eyes were much too dry for even a single tear.
So Dugger swam. The clouds were riddled with moonlight. He marked that as east and swam. He sang a song about an aging highwayman, his hair turning like winter's early frost, his face lined by love and loss and laughter, but even though his eyes still blazed bright, the young and fickle women no longer looked his way. The tune was melancholy, and he swam slowly, crawling up the waves and sliding like a child in a sled down their shiny backs. Fifteen miles a day, he thought, and one day you'll reach the coast of Chile or Peru. He wasn't sure which, but he was sure of the distance. He'd be there by Easter.