Key West was a wide-open city, and both residents and tourists alike kept suppliers working night and day bringing in boatloads of rum from Havana. There were few legitimate, good paying jobs in 1930's Key West, so in order to make ends meet, Raul Vasquez decided to become an supplier..
Navigation had never been a matter of special interest to him, as he went from Island to Island and had never got lost. But since Cuba was away over the horizon Raul felt that he should have some means of knowing exactly in what direction he was going. He bought a small compass and discussed its use with some of his fishermen friends.
As this occurred when night was coming on, Raul suddenly had a mutiny on his hands and was obliged to use his pistol to keep the "crew" subdued.
It took him five days, in fact, to get to the capital and pick up his load of liquor. The mutineer accepted the situation and helped load the boat. The dealer who was supplying the bottled goods thought Raul's boat was merely a dinghy and that he was going to transfer his cargo to a larger boat outside the harbor.
He had engine trouble, and the heavily overloaded boat floated helplessly and perilously in some very rough seas for many hours. They came close to running out of fresh water, and Raul was a very tired and bewildered and worried man, but he refused to lighten the boat.
He was somewhere in the vicinity of Big Pine Key when he finally sighted land. He made for shore and encountered another boatman from whom he tried to buy water, gasoline and food. The man, however, suspected Raul had liquor aboard and he demanded some of it. Raul had to give in, and surrendered a single bottle. He boasted for years that, after all he had gone through bringing the rum back to Key West, he'd only lost that single bottle.