As they came within firing range, the Queen Alice began firing, forcing them to turn their full attention to their stern. Even as they exchanged fire with Sandy's crew, they leaned into the wind to try and outdistance their pursuer. The more they picked up speed, the faster they bore down on Sandy's lifeboat, the drift of the outgoing tide propelling him perfectly in sync with the driving wind billowing their sails. There was no way now to avoid being rammed head on by the escaping flotilla. Sandy waited until they reached the point of no return - the point at which they could not have avoided a collision no matter what; then, turning away from the pirates as if preparing to row for his life, he set the final charge he had brought with him, and began counting down. He could feel the hot breath of pursuit on his back as he went through the motions of trying to outrun the pirate ships, every foot he put between them narrowed a hundredfold by their sails. Until, all at once, he leaped from the boat and dove as deep beneath the surface as he could. Seconds later, the lead ship rammed his rowboat; and, as it did, the rowboat exploded into a live missile which shot through the ship's bow, sending a torrent of water surging through it. The other ships, unable to come to a dead halt, rammed the lead ship, first one, which spun it into the path of the second ship, then the third and fourth, following too closely to avoid a collision. Amidst the ensuing confusion, Sandy surfaced and, unnoticed by the pirates, began swimming past their ships toward his.
He detected movement in the water the moment his lifeboat left the Queen Alice - a slow, deliberate circling beneath and around him. He knew the sea well enough to know what it was. He knew also that he now stood as much chance of being killed from below as from the ships towering above him; and that once he was in the water there was no escape and possibly no rescue. Still, he kept swimming, knowing the inevitable attack would come any second, the faster he swam the more imminent the attack.
In the confusion of battle, he failed to see a second lifeboat lowered into the water just before he dove from his. This boat remained tethered to the mother ship until his boat exploded; then it was cut loose and its sole occupant began rowing past the Queen Alice toward the spot where Sandy surfaced.
He didn't see the boat until it was a few hundred feet away and his eye caught a sudden flash of light just above the water line. He veered toward it; and, as he did, he heard the crack of a gunshot and felt a rush of air past his ear. Out of the corner of one eye he saw the sea change color around him. Then he heard a second gunshot, and the sea grew redder still, until finally he felt himself being pulled from the water into the lifeboat.
Felicia handed him the rifle; and, sitting back down, began rowing toward the Queen Alice. Sandy focused the gun on the sharks trailing Felicia's boat through a reddened path, firing twice into the water to keep them at bay. Moments later the boat was again alongside the Queen Alice. A rope was thrown down. Sandy and Felicia took it and were hauled up.