9. Around the Horn

Anyone have a friend in Tierra del Fuego?  The Falklands?  How about Cobh Ireland?

The map below shows the path of chapter 8 in red, chapter 9 in pink with popups, and the path of chapter 10 in blue.

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 nine 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):

– Tierra Del Fuego
– Cobh (Queenstown) Ireland
– Falkland Islands

Previous photo requests

Here and There Synopsis:

9.1 Latitude 57.13

December 25, 1898

On Christmas day the Austrasia sails off the pitch of the Horn but not close enough to sight land. The ship wallows nearly bare-masted in these heavy seas and fierce winds. Mountainous waves break constantly over the ship deluging the crew with brine. Still there is much work to be done aloft with an elbow hooked around a spar too cold to grip with a numbed hand. A long climb to the royals hugging footropes warms the blood. Neither royals nor “to’gan’sals” are set but constant attention must keep them from tearing away in the gale. Snow falls on the deck laced with lifelines far below.

The skipper orders duff to celebrate the day, “only there are no plums in it, only currants.” George “a negro from Barbados” caught a couple of albatrosses for Christmas dinner. It was fishy “but none have died as yet.”

9.2 Wet in All the Word Means

January 5, 1899

The seas off Tierra Del Fuego remain heavy for two weeks with waves breaking through the forecastle drenching clothes, blankets, everything. No one can remove even an oilskin awaiting the next call for “all hands on deck.” Moss grows on the always-wet decks making treacherous footing for sailors clutching lifelines shouting to be heard past ferocious winds.

The ship makes 287 miles one day, then 310 the next, “steamboat time for a good liner.” But the captain is always on deck scanning the scant sails and taut rigging to see that nothing is blown afoul. Salt horse and potatoes fortify the men for the cold heavy work.

9.3 Latitude of the Falklands

January 14, 1899

As they sail in warmer weather on calm seas for a day at least, excited chatter from the other men calls Hayes on deck to witness a “marvelous scene.” A glimmering sheen of plankton coats a sea filled with thousands of whales blowing past the Austrasia driving from the Northwest to Southeast as fast as flukes can push. Old Jack, a seasoned whaler, says they are finbacks and blue whales. For many hours, far into the night, the giant sea mammals swim by heedless of the ship often so close the captain swears one will breach their thin hull. To Hayes, their spouting sounds “like a steam exhaust,” and all have halitosis.

The unpopular ship’s second mate, Bews, is glad of the warmer weather. On the Pacific side of the Cape, to wake Baker, a sleepy headed sailor, Bews had taken to breaking buntline stops on the royals and sending Baker aloft for repairs. In retaliation Baker threw Bews’ oilskins overboard and Bews has “had the experience of running the Horn latitudes under bare poles.” Bearing the ordeal without complaint redeems Bews at least a little in Hayes’ estimation.

9.4 Pampero off Argentina

January 28 1899

Off the coast of Argentina a freak storm tears off eleven sails before anyone can react. For a full day, no one thinks of a watch below as the ship nearly founders. But, “the Austrasia is a strong and a good ship, so we rode it out.”

A few days short of his twenty-first birthday, Hayes wonders if he isn’t “going bad.” He has overheard two of the Negro seamen, who think of him as still a boy, remark on his foul cursing and wonder what will become of him when he is a man. Hayes’ wistful hope to become a better man is immediately followed in the diary by a paragraph reporting that he was chosen from all the men on his watch for special day work cleaning the ship for return to port.

If second mate Bews was already unpopular, his tattling to the skipper about the stolen wheat can only make it worse.  The captain’s reply?  “It is customary for the men to broach cargo in these homeward bounders.”  Now even the Boatswain has it in for Bews.

The complaint of starvation seems not much of an exaggeration. Hayes and Fagan have been stealing rations from the officers. When this is not enough, Fagan even eats the captain’s canary.

9.5 Past the Equator

February 4, 1899

Neptune’s rowdy court need not convene when the ship sails across the equator on the Atlantic side as all on board are now initiates. With the North Atlantic approaching the crew prepares the heavy-weather sails and the Austrasia gets a new face: masts are painted and the deck is “holystoned,” rubbed with a rough piece of sandstone until new wood appears for oiling. The ship has to look presentable for its owners upon arrival in England.

9.6 White Squall in the North Atlantic

February 14, 1899

The second mate Charley Bews sinks even lower in the eyes of the skipper after failing to see a white squall blowing up in the night to snatch seven of the ship’s best sails. The men saved the bolt ropes and leach lines but the sails are burst into ribbons. In these cold waters all are hungry, weak and shivering in their threadbare clothing.

9.7 Near the European Coasts

February 17, 1899

As the Austrasia approaches the European coasts, ships began to appear. For fifty-two days sailing down the Pacific side of the horn the ship sighted no other sail.

Fagan is sick from overeating.  As Hayes is the only trusted boy on board, the captain orders him to clean out the officer’s quarters.  Under the pretext of breaking up some old boxes, Hayes knocks open the crates holding the officer’s tins of fancy meats.  Half the haul goes to his accomplice Fagan who is now sick in bed from overindulging.

9.8 Queenstown, Ireland

February 27, 1899

Hayes calls Queenstown (which returned to its historical Irish name Cobh in 1922) a charming little harbor known to seamen all over the world. Returning from her trip entirely around the globe, the Austrasia is larger and more battered than any of the other boats in port.

On the way into port, the men are treated to a good feed as the skipper invites “bumboat” Mary and “an alluring red cheeked Irish girl” on board. Mary sells clothing and knickknacks to the returning sailors; the young “colleen” with “her delicious Irish Brogue” chats up the merchandise to these men who haven’t seen a woman in months; and the skipper takes a “good rake-off” from the profits. Ignoring Hayes’ restraining counsel, Fagan plunges for the girl along with Baker and a Montana cowboy in the port watch who spend their last dimes on trinkets.

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One Response to 9. Around the Horn

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