It is September on the North Atlantic. A fishing boat has sunk; it went down fast. The crew have escaped in two dories, along with the scant supplies they could grab – some food, bits and pieces of gear, a compass and rum. They have been drifting further and further from where they sank and there is no sign of rescue. The decision is made to row for shore; a risky gamble at best.
Mannie, the first mate, came away from the sinking with a gash to his shoulder that just won’t go away. He has always kept the crew in line while Gerald navigates the boat and gets the best price for their fish at the wharf. Their catch is no small part due to Pete, a cocky loner well known for his prowess as a fisherman. Merv is the stolid bosun and the boss of the work deck. Dickie is a deck hand out on his first trip. Gib manages the stores and cooks for the crew.
These men are the husbands, fathers, brothers, sons and lovers of those left onshore. Each of them understands the risks their vocation presents and knows others who never saw land again.. Mirages of rescue appear and disappear as they fight to overcome hunger, thirst and pain.
The beauty and the brutality of the ocean accompany them. As comrades they journey through emotional turmoil of fear, anger, laughter and eventually, insight and transcendence. In their struggle to survive they come to realize it is not only the ocean they must conquer, it is themselves that they need to come to terms with.