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Chapter 23 begins as Jim is in the coracle, having trouble steering towards the larger Hispaniola. Fortunately for Jim, the tide sweeps him to the boat. Jim is able, after waiting for the boat to slacken the howser, to cut all but two threads of the rope that anchor the Hispaniola, and then he waits for the next breeze. While he is waiting, Jim listens to the voices coming from the ship's cabin. Immediately, he recognizes one as Israel Hand, the other he only identifies as wearing a red nightcap. Clearly, from the sounds of their angry voices, the men sound tipsy. Once again, a breeze comes up and puts the rope in a perfect position and Jim cuts through the rest of the rope. Upon this action, the Hispaniola begins to slowly spin and sway with the current. As he is shoving away from the bigger boat in the smaller oracle, Jim catches a rope and hoists himself into a position where he observes the two sailors in a physical struggle, a struggle that to Jim appears deadly.
Jim gets back into the coracle, which is following the wake of the bigger schooner, and heads for shore, where he comes near the campfire and hears the pirates singing. All of the sudden, the Hispaniola changes the course because the current has turned in and is sweeping both the coracle and the bigger boat out to sea. Having nothing else to do, Jim lies in the bottom of his boat, which is tossing in the turbulent waves. Although he expects to be killed at sea, Jim is eventually rocked to sleep and dreams of his home and the Admiral Benbow.