8. To Sea

The map below shows the path of the previous chapter in orange, chapter 8 in red with popups, and the path of chapter 9 in pink.

View the First Ten Segments Without Popups This is a preview showing the path Hayes records in the diary up to age 22 without synopses.  Look at it in Google Earth if you can.

View the first twenty segments without popups on Google Earth If you click this button it will offer a google earth download.  You will need to have Google Earth Installed.  This is by far the best way to view all his trips to age 25.

View the first eight segments with popups on Google Earth This will mean a download again.  But it’s worth it.  Because…  when you have it up in google earth you can close the windows, then open them in order to see his progression.

Requested photo places (see About Photo Requests):

–  Portland OR
–  Astoria OR

Previous photo requests

Here and There Synopsis:

8.1 Portland

Oct. 9, 1898

When not chasing about Portland looking for a ship, Hayes records his familiar critique of the bars – where men are welcome to carouse bawdy until the money runs out – and of the friendly prostitutes whose lives and beauty are so short. He tells one particularly disturbing story of a young woman sitting on the sidewalk with a bad gash on her abdomen – cut by her own mother when their pimp transferred his affections to the more comely daughter.

Oct. 13, 1898

Hayes is hailed on the street by “a fine looking chap” who offers him a ship with the assurance that when the seas get rough around the Horn that’s when the crew all goes below for a smoke. He signs on knowing this is the only way he’ll ever get to Africa and takes up temporary residence at the “Home for Sailors and Farmers” until the ship sails.

Four Masted Barque circa 1892

8.2 Outfitted at Astoria

Oct 17, 1899

The ship’s crew is about half seamen and half green hands. The former are paid $25 per month the latter $20. All are assessed two months pay before the voyage begins for:

Two cheap cotton suits of underwear
Two suits of dungarees,
A cheap suit of duck for oil skins,
A 35 cent blanket,
A 10 cent straw tick,
Some tobacco (which Hayes doesn’t use), and
A couple pairs of socks.

Tom, an Australian; Riley, a Welshman; and Arthur McCoy, a New Zealander, are among the able seamen from whom Hayes can learn. The green hands are picked mainly for the brawn they’ll need handling the sails in the rough seas off Cape Horn. One is Dublin whose real name is Paddy O’connor – the biggest man in the ship and a bully of whom Hayes is immediately wary.

Some of the men are scoundrels. Hayes knows enough to remain silent when Liverpool, an experienced Welsh seaman, steals one of the two pairs of underwear just issued Hayes. The long voyage will offer some opportunity for a reply in kind.

Modern Tall Masted Schooner.
Photo by David Such
>

8.3  300 Miles Due West of the Mouth of the Columbia
October 24, 1898

Far out at sea. Hayes reports that he is seasick – “of course.”

The food is poor: “Lob scouse,” a glue-like mess made of potatoes and scraps of meat; “burgoo,” which is a pasty mess of unseasoned corn meal; weak coffee; and either soggy bread or pan tiles that threaten to break the teeth.

Hayes’ mates on the second watch are Fagan, a Frisco Irish boy, and Baker, a New York kid. All learn to jump without looking to another when a seamen calls for a hand to leap aloft.

8.4 Sailing South; Weather Getting Warmer

October 30, 1898

The men are now changing the heavy weather sails for lighter fair weather canvas. Handling the heavy sails is hard, dangerous work, but at least Hayes does not suffer dizziness as do some of the other boys and he likes being aloft.

At noon each day the men receive a pannikin of “pound-and-pint in regular lime juice,” to keep scurvy away and “to keep the passions in check.” Hayes reports that the poor food was enough for the latter.

8.5 Toward the End of the Trades

November 7, 1898

On leaving Portland, the bully Dublin had seen Hayes tuck some money into his waist belt. When he confronts Dublin about an attempted theft, Dublin threatens a little nudge one night when both are high up in the rigging. Now Hayes always takes the side closest to the mast on any spar and swears he’ll drag the big Irishman off with him should it come to a fight.

As the trade winds falter, the men are constantly aloft chasing “catspaws of wind.” On these sailing ships any man like Hayes who has never crossed the equator anticipates a rough initiation from the experienced sailors when Neptune comes on board. All are looking forward to a jolly time.

8.6 Neptune’s Visit at the Equator

November 20, 1898

When the initiates are locked in the boatswain’s locker to await Neptune, Dublin elects to fight for it. The seven or eight experienced sailors who finally subdue the big man deliver him an extra coating of tar from head to toe for their trouble.

At Hayes’ turn, Tom, a “genial negro,” makes a big flourish but pastes Hayes with only a little tar. His shaving is with a two-foot wooden razor and some pills made of chicken excrement and soap follow. Hayes mouths the pills before spitting them over the rail but Fagan isn’t quite so clever and swallows the lot.

After Dublin is subdued a second time, things settle down and Fagan begins wiping off his tarring on some oakum swabs. To Hayes, that silken scarf Liverpool (the underwear thief back in Portland) purchased in Shanghai seems better for wiping tar. Clean hands return the newly decorated scarf to its place in the forecastle.

8.7 Getting South Rapidly

November 27, 1898

When Liverpool finds his scarf, a volcano breaks loose. He has the gift of tongues acquired wandering the world in deepwater ships with “all the cuss words of every tongue jumbled together.” Liverpool and Dublin have a longstanding feud, so of course Dublin is blamed.

Their row of accusations and denials escalates until the skipper finally calls all hands on deck to watch Dublin and Liverpool fight it out. At dogwatch, with the jeering men circling the brawl, the giant Irishman thrashes his more compact Welsh opponent in a “rare scrap.”

Later, Hayes tallies Liverpool’s beating as just retribution for the underwear stolen in Portland.

British ships are notorious for both the poor quality and quantity of food. The men catch fish and seabirds and steal wheat from the cargo which, mixed with seawater, makes a kind of bread “hard as iron.”

8.8 Headed away for the Horn

December 3, 1898

With his experience of more than a month at sea, Hayes describes their ship, the Austrasia, as a “splendid sailer” with a “clean bottom.”

Stiff gales blow around the horn requiring bad weather sails. To ease the hard work hauling heavy canvas aloft, the men gather on the foredeck on Sundays to sing. Baker has been in the music halls in New York and knows all the latest show tunes. Hayes shares songs learned in the timber and mining camps now so far to the north.

Liverpool and Dublin are now best of friends, Liverpool sad only because “his judy” will not receive her silken scarf.

Technical information on the Austrasia linked by Tim Bell

8.9 The Roaring Forties

December 14, 1898

Throughout his life and all his travels Hayes remains conflicted about religion and morality. On the one hand, he is convinced, “All men are evil, the worst liars those who profess highest.” Still though, he remains haunted by his observation that all the men have at least some quiet faith in God. For now, the best he can muster is, “As for me, I don’t know what to think.”

On the side of practical morality, the men would starve if they weren’t stealing wheat from the cargo. The skipper will not allow them a scrap more than the regulated ration. Stealing wheat weighs heavily Hayes’ conscience and the skipper apportions justly according to British law of the sea – but the men are starving. In the push, Hayes always trusts his own inner voice. Ultimately he knows who to trust, but he can never quite let go his wish for a better world.

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