Leaving the Island: Chapter 28

Two masted boat at sea with island nearby.
George Nidever’s schooner, which visited San Nicolas Island several times and eventually brought the Lone Woman to Santa Barbara in October 1853. Illustration by Elizabeth Chapin.

The huge waves destroy Karana’s canoe and those she had stored under the cliffs. Karana looks among the wreckage left by the waves to find wood to build a new canoe. She retrieves parts of canoes washed ashore and collects enough wood to make a new vessel.

Black pitch (asphaltum) also washed up on shore and Karana uses this to seal the seams between the planks. She works for months on the new canoe.

Late in the spring, Karana spots a ship nearing the shore. It is not the Aleut ship that brought otter hunters but neither is it the ship that took her people away from the island. If the ship brings more hunters, Karana thinks she must hide, but if the ship has come from her people, then she should not.

Two men row ashore, and one of them finds her fire and canoe. Karana hears a man calling and believes he calls for her. She returns to her camp and prepares to leave, but before she can reach the man, he rows back to the ship. Karana tries to attract the attention of the men in the ship, but the ship sails away in the blowing wind.

Last updated: June 25, 2018