Chapter 16

 

I knew I had to make myself a better fortification where I would be more comfortable, but more importantly, I would be safe. I considered looking for a cave or making a bigger tent but in the end I decided to do both. I needed a place which was close to fresh water, which was sheltered from the heat of the sun, and was easy to protect from both men and animals. Last but not least, it had to have a view of the sea so I could easily spot a ship passing nearby.

I found a little plain next to a steep hill and decided to pitch my tent there. The hill would protect me from one side and I would build a fence on all other sides. I used the cables from the ship to tie strong sharp stakes together. There was no door, but I was using a short ladder to go over the fence, which I would then take with me inside the fortification.

I brought all my belongings inside and made two tents – a bigger one from the hill to the fence and a small one inside it. I needed the bigger one to protect the powder and the food from the torrential rains. I was going to live in the smaller one where I had brought the hammock and was using it instead of a bed.

When I had finished with the tents, I started digging at the bottom of the hill. I was bringing the stones and earth I would get from there to the fence. In this way I made a terrace on the inner side of the fence. The hole at the bottom of the hill I intended to use as a cellar.

One day I was still working on the cave when a storm appeared. There was lightning, followed by a deafening thunder. It crossed my mind that a single lightning bolt falling on one of the barrels with powder could destroy everything I’ve done and even kill me. I was terrified. As soon as the storm went away I opened the barrels and started dividing the powder into bags and pouches, boxes and parcels, which I then hid in the rocks. As I had a lot of powder, this took me two weeks.

Meanwhile, I went hunting every day. It was a break from the hard work and it provided me with meat. I also familiarized myself with the island and its inhabitants. I discovered goats and killed one. It had a little kid by it which followed me when I took its mother. I was hoping I could tame it but it would not eat so I had to kill it as well.