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Three weeks after first coming to the Lone Islands, Caspian and his friends and crew prepare to leave and continue their expedition to the east. Everyone says goodbye to the Duke and a crowd of the Lone Islanders cheers as the ship leaves harbor.
A small tugboat pulls the Dawn Treader out to a place where the sails can catch the wind. The crowd falls silent as the tugboat disengages and returns to harbor. Drinian steers the ship to the east and everyone goes about their duties.
For several days Lucy really enjoys herself. In the morning she wakes up in a sunny cabin surrounded by all the new clothes she got in the Lone Islands. On deck the sea is beautiful and the air is warm.
Lucy often plays chess with Reepicheep. Usually Reepicheep is an intelligent player and wins, but every so often he makes a silly mistake because he imagines the pieces could be as brave and adventurous as he is.
Of course, the fun times can't last. One night a storm suddenly gathers in the western sky and hits the ship. The wind is crazy, the sea churns around, and it feels as though the ship will be swept under by the waves at any moment.
Lucy staggers and slips her way to the ladder and goes under the deck into her cabin. She knows she can't help by staying on deck because she's not an experienced sailor, so she gets out of the way.
Down below, Lucy can't see the men scrambling to keep the ship afloat in the storm, but she can still hear the noise of the ship straining under the wind and water.
The storm continues for several days. The whole time, three men are needed to steer the ship, someone always has to be pumping out the water that comes over the deck, and nobody gets much sleep. There's no hot food and no way to dry clothes or bedding. One man is swept overboard.
After the storm ends, Eustace writes in his diary. By his reckoning, it is September 3. He records that they have been in a hurricane for thirteen days, although everyone else says it was a bad storm for twelve.
Eustace complains about the lack of hot food and the ship's inability to signal for help. He also complains that Caspian and Edmund forced him to help everyone else work on deck on the night the mast was broken.
Now that the storm is over, Eustace writes that everyone is trying to decide what to do. They only have enough food to last for sixteen days and enough water to last for twelve. They've been sailing for eighteen days, so even if they turned around, the Lone Islands are out of reach.
At the moment, Eustace writes, there is no wind. Caspian doesn't want to force the men to row because of the water shortage. Everyone but Eustace voted to continue sailing east, hoping to find land. Eustace objected, but he didn't have any other plan to suggest.
Eustace's next entry is dated September 4. He complains that he got less food than everyone else at dinner. Lucy offered him some of her ration, but Edmund wouldn't let her give it up.
On September 5, Eustace writes that they are still becalmed and it's hot. He feels feverish.
On September 6, Eustace records that he woke up in the middle of the night feeling feverish and thirsty. He took his cup and snuck out of the cabin he shares with Caspian and Edmund, intending to get himself an extra ration of water. However, when he got to the cask of water, Reepicheep, who was guarding the water supply, caught him red-handed!
Reepicheep raised the alarm and everyone was horrified that Eustace was trying to steal water. Caspian forced Eustace to apologize, then announced that the next person caught trying to steal water would get two dozen lashes. Caspian expressed his sympathy for Eustace and assured him they were all feeling just as bad, but Eustace felt patronized. Eustace sulked in bed all day.
In the next entry, dated September 7, Eustace records that there was a little wind and the ship has been progressing east, using the bowsprit tied to the stump of the old mast as a makeshift mast.
On September 8, Eustace writes that he's staying in bed and only speaking to Lucy. Lucy is giving him some of her water ration.
On September 9, Eustace records that they've sighted land – a mountain to the southeast.
On September 10, Eustace writes that they are getting closer, but the mountain is still pretty far away.
Eustace's last entry for the time being is dated September 11. He writes that they dropped anchor in the early evening next to the island with the mountains, but Caspian wants to wait until morning to go ashore. The narrator tells us that, after this entry, Eustace forgot about his diary for a long time.
In the morning, the voyagers on the Dawn Treader wake up to find the ship in a bay encircled by cliffs. Ahead of the ship, a stream comes out of a grove of trees and flows into the bay. Past that are high mountains with waterfalls. The land is beautiful but silent and somehow oppressive.
Everyone goes ashore and drinks and bathes in the river. They eat and rest before beginning to repair and restock the ship. There's a lot to do: the ship is practically a wreck, and so are the people!
Eustace, lying under a tree, is dismayed to realize that everyone will have to keep working hard even after finding land. He decides to go for a walk and to not come back until the day's work is done.
Eustace casually strolls away from the rest of the ship's crew. Soon he finds himself hiking upward through the woods. The narrator notes that the old Eustace would never have put in the effort to hike up a steep mountainside, so the adventure has begun to change him.
Eventually Eustace reaches the top of the ridge. On one side, he can see the bay and the ocean beyond it. On the other side, he only sees clouds and fog hiding the center of the island. He settles down for a rest.
Soon Eustace feels lonely. He starts to worry about how much time might be passing and that the others might leave him behind. Panicked, he begins to scramble down the hillside, but he is turned around and confused by the fog and the different ridges.
Eustace reaches the bottom of the hill. As the fog clears, he finds himself in an unfamiliar valley. The sea and the bay are nowhere to be seen.