Robinson prepared to go on the same voyage again, though the captain of the Guinea vessel had died and been replaced. Leaving two hundred pounds of his money with the old captain's widow, he voyaged to Guinea again, but "fell into terrible misfortunes."
Robinson's desire and ambition for greater wealth bring him further misfortunes.
Along the way, Robinson's ship was captured by a Turkish pirate ship and he was taken as a prisoner to Sallee, a Moorish port. Robinson was made the slave of the pirate ship's captain. He didn't think his fortune could get any worse, but says that these events were "just a taste of the misery I was to go through."
Ironically, while setting out to make his own life, Robinson ends up losing his individual personhood, becoming a slave. From his retrospective position as narrator, he knows that this was just the beginning of his miseries.
Robinson stayed in Sallee as a slave for two years, constantly thinking of a way to escape but finding none. He finally devised a means of escape when he was sent with a Moor named Ismael and a boy named Xury on a small row-boat to go fishing. He tricked Ismael into loading the boat with plenty of provisions, including gunpowder and guns.
Robinson relies on his own cleverness to plot his escape, rather than waiting for someone else to rescue him.
When Robinson and Ismael went out to fish, Robinson deliberately lost any fish he had hooked, and told Ismael that they needed to go farther out to sea to catch fish. When they were a ways out at sea, Robinson pushed Ismael overboard. He told Ismael to swim back to shore and threatened to shoot him if he tried to swim back to the boat, because he was "resolved to have my liberty."
Robinson is determined to have his own liberty, but this focus on himself makes him rather unconcerned for the wellbeing of others—in this case Ismael, whom he throws overboard.
Robinson then turned to Xury and told him, "if you will be faithful to me I will make you a great man," but that, if not, he would throw him into the sea, as well. Xury swore his loyalty to Robinson. Out of fear of being caught, he sailed southward for six days, not daring to go to shore. He finally anchored at the mouth of a river one evening.
While fiercely individualistic, Robinson keeps Xury as his one companion on this new journey. As later with Friday, Robinson's self-sufficiency is to some degree reliant on a subservient (non-European; non-Christian) companion.
Xury and Robinson did not sleep that night, as they heard strange creatures come into the water. One of these creatures came close to the boat and Robinson shot at it. The next day, Robinson and Xury were still afraid of going ashore, because they might encounter "savages," but they needed to go find fresh water. The two of them went ashore with jars for water and Xury found a source of clean water.
Robinson and Xury are afraid of the unknown creatures on land, as well as any possible inhabitants, whom they automatically assume must be savages.
Xury and Robinson saw no other humans around them. Robinson didn't know where exactly they were, but thought that if they waited off the shore of Africa long enough, they would encounter an English merchant ship. One day, Robinson and Xury shot a huge lion and brought its hide back aboard their boat.
While strongly individualistic, Robinson still hopes at this early point in his journeys to be rescued by a European ship and return to society at large.
Robinson decided to sail south, making for the Cape de Verd, where he knew European merchant ships often passed by. As they went further south, they began to see inhabitants on the shore. Xury was wary of going ashore to speak with these Africans, but Robinson sailed close enough to shore to see that they had no weapons and made signs to them indicating that he was in need of food.
Robinson and Xury are cautious toward the native Africans they encounter, fearing these unknown people, though Robinson is desperate enough to ask for their help.
Some native inhabitants brought back food for Robinson and Xury. Then, two strange creatures came running down the mountains toward the water, frightening the Africans. The creatures jumped into the water and one swam close to Robinson's boat. Robinson shot and killed the animal. The Africans were astonished at and frightened by Robinson's gunshot but were grateful and amazed when they saw the dead creature (a huge leopard) float ashore.
The unknown land that Robinson has sailed to is filled not only with strange peoples but also with amazing, dangerous beasts. Now and later on his island, Robinson must survive in spite of such dangers.
The natives supplied Robinson with some fresh water and Robinson continued to sail south, until he neared the Cape de Verd. Xury spotted another ship, which turned out to be a Portuguese vessel. The Portuguese took them aboard and the Portuguese captain promised to take Robinson to Brazil for free.
Despite Robinson's fears about "savages," the natives are kind and generous to him. In a twist of fate, Robinson and Xury are rescued by a helpful Portuguese captain.