...The boys boarded the boat. To steel their resolve, they opened the vodka, poured it in the teacup, added a bit of water, and passed it around. This time, Etueni joined in. Samu started the engine. It was the final chance to run home, to sleep in a bed. Etueni later admitted to me that as he sat in the boat, he'd thought that this was a dangerous and stupid idea. "I almost jumped off," he says. But then Filo began yelling, and Samu and Etueni joined in—a rebel yell, a primal scream. A howl that tried to both express and eclipse their nervous, excited joy. They soon began shouting people's names, those they'd stolen from. They teased Samu's uncle. "Ha-ha! We're leaving! We stole your boat!" And they motored through the gap in the reef surrounding Atafu. It was the first time any of the boys had been on the ocean side of Tokelau without a master fisherman. Their plan, they later told me, was to reach the next atoll. They figured it would take three or four days. They had only the clothes they wore: shorts and T-shirts and sandals. No one wore a cap. No one had remembered to bring sunglasses.Read the whole thing.
They continued drinking. Etueni was bartender—water and vodka, in their one tea cup. Filo was the first to tire out; he curled up on the bottom of the boat. Samu and Etueni stayed up, still drinking. Somehow, in his insobriety, Etueni took off his shirt and lost it overboard. Samu controlled the engine. "We just had an idea of following one star," says Etueni. "But we didn't know what star it was." Then Samu, too, grew sleepy. So Etueni drove for a while. Eventually he switched off the engine. And soon all three boys were passed out on the flat metal bottom of the boat...
Most of us have done something fool enough to get killed, and often alcohol was involved. But not many of us get 51 day stuck in small boat with no food or water to contemplate our stupidity.
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