Then we sat without speech or movement for about five minutes, while the gurgle of tide through piles approached and passed. The dinghy appeared to be motionless, just as a balloon in the clouds may appear to its occupants to be motionless, though urged by a current of air. In reality we were driving out of the Riff-Gat into the See-Gat. The dinghy swayed to a light swell.
We must cross the See-Gat and strike that boomed channel, the Memmert Balje; strike it, freeze on to it can't cut off an inch and pass that "watershed" you see there before it's too late. It's an infernally bad one, I can see. Not even a dinghy will cross it for an hour each side of low water. 'Well, how far is the "watershed"? 'Good Lord! What are we talking for? Change, man, change!
Before we left the cabin he gave me a scrap of pencilled paper and saw that it went safely into my pocket-book. 'Look at it in the train, he said. Unable to cope with Böhme, I paced the deck aimlessly as we swung round the See-Gat into the Buse Tief, trying to identify the point where we crossed it yesterday blindfold.
Meantime, we were nearing Norderney; the See-Gat was crossed, and with the last of the flood tide fair beneath us, and the red light on the west pier burning ahead, we began insensibly to relax our efforts. But I dared not rest, for I was at that point of exhaustion when mechanical movement was my only hope. 'Light astern, I said, thickly. 'Two white and red.