In Chapter III Robinson Crusoe narrates that he has a prosperous cane and tobacco plantation; however, he cannot be content, but feels that he must leave and
pursue a rash and immoderate desire of rising faster that the nature of the thing admitted.
And so, he casts himself into "the deepest gulf of human misery" when he signs on with fourteen other men who set sail for Guinea in pursuit of slaves for their plantations. For, when they are near the coast of St. Augustino, there are pushed out to sea by a hurricane, and they lose their way and are pulled and pushed by the terrible winds for twelve days. After the storm abates, Crusoe and the captain agree that they must head to the English islands in the Caribbean since the ship has sustained injury. Then it goes strikes a sandbar, forcing the men into a smaller boat that is on board. But, since they have no sail, the remaining eleven men can only row as best as they can. However a raging wave sweeps the men into the sea. Crusoe is the only survivor and he is nearly killed as the great waves pull in back from reaching the shore several times, once almost dashing him against a jagged rock and "half dead with the water I took in."
Finally, Crusoe reaches the shore, but finds that he has only a knife and some tobacco. "Half-alive" with hunger and fatigue overcoming him, Crusoe climbs into a tree for safety and falls asleep, holding a makeshift spear.