So now at least we knew how it worked, all that extra spread out space was actually just the empty Territory unfolded out in the everyday world. But how to get to the Pirates Grotto, where was the way to climb down inside? There were still whole levels we couldn't reach. We'd walked right over them day after day, they were there, right there, underneath our feet when we walked along the cliffs. And although we sometimes managed to catch a glimpse of these levels from time to time, we didn't know how to connect them up to the surface of the island. We could take a walk in an everyday way to the place of the Pirate Grotto, look askew and change our view to enter into the Territory there. But if we began in the Territory way, standing on top of the cliffs above, we couldn't find the Territory path that would take us down to the underground Grotto. It was like having a pair of x-ray eyes that let us see through the walls all around us without being able to find the door that would let us walk into the place of our seeing.
After a while we gave up trying to find a way in from the tops of the cliffs. We decided to go down below instead and look for an entrance there. We boated around the bottom of the cliffs at a place where the rock drops straight to the sea. The beach doesn't reach here, the water is deep; the currents are strong and the waves can sweep you onto the rocks if you boat the wrong way. It seemed like a likely place. There were indications in that deadly cove that Pirates were using the place. One large rock just a bit offshore had a cave in the side that faced the cliffs. The cave was hidden in such a way that a boat going by on the sea lanes off shore would never know it was there. It made a perfect secret dock for a ship to come in and unload its cargo. There was even the wreck of a ship nearby, a Pirate ship by the look of its prow so we figured some rival Pirate band had come in and attacked somehow. The secret cave is G on the map. The wreck I've marked with H. In the everyday world the secret cave was a roofed-over place behind a school which gave some shelter from recess rain. The wreck was a part of a playground place with wooden towers and climbing nets.
So we entered into the Territory and watched the place for a number of nights, hugging the shore and showing no light. Along about midnight each time we were there a beacon light blinked out from the cliffs. The Pirates were using their peephole all right and not just for peeping it seemed. The first two nights nothing else occurred, but then on the third a ship came in just after sunset and docked at the cave in the cove.
When the midnight light shone out from the cliffs, a lantern blinked back from the deck of the ship. Not long after two boats appeared coming out from the wall of the cliff. We didn't see where they came out right then, it happened too fast and we weren't well prepared, but still even so it proved we were right. There was a secret entrance to the Pirate Grotto at the base of the cliff, and if we were lucky all we had to do was follow the Pirate boats back through. We watched as they rendezvoused with the ship. Cargo nets were lowered down with crates of goods and some kegs of rum or other such drink that Pirates use to amuse themselves.
Then all of a sudden the loading was through. The crew of the ship shouted down to the Pirates, the Pirates called back and then paddled away to the cliffs. Francis and me, we were ready this time, we pushed out from shore and headed off after them, fast as we could. But not fast enough. The two Pirate boats, they reached the cliff first and paddled on into a group of rocks there. We came close behind but it was hard to catch up. It was dark and the rocks were everywhere. We had to keep fighting the waves and the surf, one sideways swipe on the rocks and we'd burst and sink like a stone. No place to bring a boat at all, if we hadn't seen the Pirates go in we'd never have tried it ourselves. But we kept on paddling past the rocks. A wave swept us up and around the last one and all at once we suddenly saw the secret entrance we'd been searching for.
It was lit with torches from inside the cliff and the light was surprisingly bright. The smell of spice was in the air and we heard a dog barking somewhere within the secret tunnel. A number of Pirates threw out ropes to the incoming boats we'd been following. As soon as the boats were inside the tunnel they lowered a great metal grate. Francis and me we pulled for the place like our lives depended on it. In a way that was true. The wind was up now and the surf was pounding around us like cannon balls. The current was strong and it took us wrong, it kept pushing us back away from the cliff and onto the rocks that guarded the secret tunnel mouth. When we finally got our boat floating right and we reached the grate, it was shut down tight. The Pirates were gone, they were moving on in down the tunnel beyond, taking their light along with them.
We tried to lift up the grate they had dropped, but they'd locked it down tight to a ring with some chains. A huge monster wave smashed up over the rocks, it broke over top of Francis and me and we'd probably have sunk or got bashed on the cliff if we hadn't of had a good grip on the grate. We pushed ourselves clear and we got out fast, too fast for me cause the currents and waves must've doubled our speed and quartered our steering. We made it out though as you can well see, but I'm telling you now, just between you and me, don't you ever take a chance with a Pirate grate unless your insurance is paid in advance.