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The real problems begin in 1699. Gulliver sets sail on a voyage that starts out prosperously but quickly takes a turn for the worse. The ship encounters violent storms, has bad food, and weakens the crew (twelve crew members die) when the ship hits a rock and is split. Six of the crew members, including Gulliver, get into a small boat and row until they are overturned by a "sudden Flurry." Gulliver swims until he is nearly exhausted, at which point he finds an island, comes across a patch of grass, and sleeps for what he estimates is more than nine hours.
When Gulliver awakens, he is lying on his back. He finds himself unable to sit up or move at all. His "Arms and Legs were strongly fastened on each side to the Ground; and [his] Hair, which was long and thick, tied down in the same manner."