The sailboat was ready. It was the sleekest thing on water. Twenty-seven feet long, it measured a mere 28 inches wide. It was picked for its speed. Five men were to be its crew, plus Lt. Richard Jopida, an expert seaman who volunteered to land us at Leyte. At night, the moon peeped over the mountain and the breeze turned to give us a tail wind. With a prayer, we shoved off.
The fate of Lt. de Vera remaining unknown, we felt, was a bad omen for a 280-mile trip by sailboat on an open sea.