16. North From the Horn – Starving

May 13, 2011
.


Click here for links to maps and downloads of more maps.

Here and There Synopsis:

16.1 The Great Rocks of Diego Ramirez

January 22, 1902

The Crown of India sailed past “the great rocks [of] Diego Ramirez” with good wind “under topsail yards all hauling.” Moss grows on the deck from the constant damp and, even at midsummer this far south, one may not look directly into the cold wind. With a little snow that falls on deck Hayes musters the energy to throw a few snowballs at a shipmate “Missouri.” All the men have “our fingers crossed lest bad wind spring up and we blow back west instead of passing the Horn.” But for now “Cape Horn is in a quiet mood for once.”

Unusually good weather, and, almost as welcome, Fleck is still below deck nursing his eyes. All the men wish him a long and painful illness lasting at least until they are safely round the Horn. Hayes is “shocked because at heart I agree with these men.” Because of Captain Sauter and his wife, every sailor on board starves on “pound and pint” rations, nevertheless all respond well to his just treatment.

“There are worlds of sea birds,” down here at the bottom of the world, from the tiny petrels “that really walk on the water” to giant albatross that “flap and run far over the sea as they endeavor to arise.” Despite the “fishy taste and coarse flesh,” catching a few for the stew pot compliments the short rations.

16.2 Shaving on a rolling sea

January 30, 1902

On the night of the previous entry, all the crossed fingers on board did not prevent a fierce gale from blowing up, forcing the crew up into the wild riggings to strip the sails. But at least the two-finger charm prevented the worst: the ferocious winds blew from the south pushing the ship smartly north into warmer weather. After a week running before this storm, Hayes and some other men “heaved the log” to gauge ship’s speed. All eleven knots ran out before their hourglass drained, “which means she is doing better than eleven knots per hour, and is almost under bare poles.” Of course, “food at its worst and growing worse daily,” and the rough seas wet everything aboard ship.

With the rough weather, the second mate hasn’t been shaved since the ship reached the Horn Latitudes on the west side. Despite the big rollers following the storm, Hayes agrees to barber. Both men brace themselves in the mate’s tiny cabin on the rolling ship with three hands on shoulders and one free to handle the razor. “We made it, but I scarred his face a little.” For now, “the men keep cheery in the forecastle despite the hardships.” The poor food, though, will become a real danger to all.

Fleck’s eyes have recovered enough that, “he imagined he could see the loom of the Falkland Islands” when he came on deck for the first time in nearly a month. With no real expectation Fleck has reformed, Hayes remarks that he “spoke to me in an even voice,” – an aberration, no doubt.

Evidently sailors frequently succumb to “Cape Fever” sailing around the Horn. Schillerstrom, the reckless Swede and comic of the ship says with a straight face, the one time he had it, “Eet was very bad, very bad.” Nothing like the real affliction Fleck suffered, men with Cape fever seem, “to eat well and sleep well, but are unable to work until clear of Cape Stiff.” Luckily, no one on board caught it this time round.

16.3 24th Birthday at Sea

February 10, 1902

Only the elements celebrate Hayes’ 24th birthday – “in fine weather now.”

How quickly Fleck has recovered his spleen. At 35° from the equator, hints of the southwest trades flutter the sails, “and Fleck is frigging the watch, hauling, trimming, sweating every rope in the ship,” pretending to catch these favorable winds. With Fleck returned to his cursing, beating, and kicking the crew, every man aboard swears he’ll never “again go deep sea.”

16.4 Even the Rats are Hungry

February 22, 1902

“Full rations are a bare subsistence,” and now the crew of the Crown of India is reduced to half. One can eat a shark, but not when prepared by this cook. “We have even considered the numerous rats the big cat in the hold drives on deck.”

The starving rats do severe damage to the ship: they eat the sails when stowed and even when furled, get into the cargo casks, chew the straps on the life preservers, and worst, chew on the feet of sleeping men. “The old Dutch cook, who is a sound sleeper and has corns, bunions and calluses on his feet, is unable to walk because of so much rat gnawing.” While dozing on the graveyard watch, a rat bit Hayes’ bare foot and, “it bled freely.” All men hate the rats and drive them overboard – thus far, no one seems to be eating them.

Least of all, the captain; he sold the crew’s food but not the officer’s. Because Hayes is handy at so many skills, he sometimes helps the carpenter, “and this takes me on the poop where the skipper plays with his much loved wife.” The careless skipper, coming too near a hammer stroke, dodged sharply sending his cork hat over the side. This brought Hayes a stern glare from the skipper and an appeal from the skipper’s happy well-fed wife to stop the ship, lower a boat, and retrieve the hat slowly receding from the ship on the calm seas. The skipper knew better than to ask starving men to delay their return home for his own folly.

16.5 Doldrums Past the Line

March 5, 1902

On deck, the second mate calls Hayes to see St. Paul’s Rocks, a small archipelago of granite rocks, flocked with birds, standing out of the sea, “almost on the equator and equally distant from South America on one hand and Africa on the other.” It is so hot here, “the pitch boils out of the seams in the decks.” More of the rain they caught for storage crossing the equator would be a welcome relief.

The starving crew can barely work. It’s a good thing they have water. Skip reading the following description of their rations if you have a light stomach: “our daily allowance now is a small portion of fat, yellowish pork and a mess the cook makes out of the sweepings of the biscuit tanks in the hold. These are half weevil larvae, wriggling like maggots and of similar appearance.”

Fleck is back to full form, frigging the men “until our flaccid muscles are worn out.” No one has energy to curse him; all move about “as if half dead.” As an officer, still on reasonable rations, Fleck has plenty of energy to fill in for any insufficiency of curses.

16.6 Beating North Into the Wind

March 20,1902

With her foul bottom, the Crown of India, can’t make headway against strong winds. They sail east half a day, turn the ship, then sail west half a day, tacking back and forth against the wind. She sails plenty of miles – while making almost no progress north toward home. The skipper restrains Fleck who still delights in frigging the crew. How can the cruel mate be unaware of the real danger to a ship worked by a crew too weak to stand? Doudou, a young German boy, “is first to break. He is semi-conscious, partly from fear of the brutal mate.”

16.7 Scurvy at Ponta Delgada

March 27, 1902

At Ponta Delgada on the island of San Miguel, the Crown of India lies in a small stream with the men gazing over green, well-tended fields, longing to be off this starving ship. A basket of oranges and a “lean beef” come over the side but disappear immediately aft for the officers. Perhaps the oranges indicate the skipper fears scurvy aft, this sailor’s malady, due to lack of vitamin C, already spreads among the crew. Hayes reports sore teeth but no swelling of the lower limbs – either is an advanced symptom of scurvy. Finally, “even Fleck has softened.” What’s the use of yelling at men who “move because we have to, instinctively rather than obedience to the officers of the ship?”

Some of the locals speak English. “It is said that there are some 9,000 priests, monks and nuns in this small town of only 16,000 population.” His observations about the large families and the power of the church are not flattering.

“For days we have been trying to contact a ship, the flag flying upside down, the symbol of a ship in distress.” Many ships pass, but none stop to offer aid. All can see that Crown of India is “a homeward bounder.” Their captains know “the ways of skippers who sell the crew’s ration and spend the proceeds on themselves.” Some of the men have collapsed from scurvy.

16.8 Finally, Some Cabbage

March 29, 1902

Captain Sauter must have procured some food at Ponta Delgada, the ship left the narrow stream and “a great feast was enjoyed aft.” And for the working crew forward? “The thrifty skipper let us go 24 hours without feeding us.” Some cabbages left over from the feast aft hung briefly for storage “under the bridge near the break of the poop.” All but a leaf and a root vanished in the night to the starving crew. When the captain finally produces some boiled beef and pan tiles for the crew, Hayes’ teeth are so loose from the scurvy he can scarcely eat.

Of course, with a little food in the crew, Fleck’s abuse returns. “He has the filthiest mouth I have ever listened too, and his spleen is always being vented on the man nearest him.” At least the ship is making headway toward Falmouth where this nightmare trip will finally end.

16.9 The End is Near

April 6, 1902

Landfall at the Scilly Islands “raises hope in our hearts that the end is near.” Now these abused and physically wrecked sailors speculate what they’ll do next. Most plan a visit home; Chris, a shipmate from Trondjehm, has patched his clothes and saved his money for a reunion, but admits, “It will be the same old thing, I guess.” Juan Guerrero, another shipmate, succinctly describes this same old thing: “enjoy the fleshpots of whatever port we make, then go out and make enough to do it in the next one.”  Guerrero, a Chilean adventurer, who has hunted rubber in South America, explored the Pilcomayo River in Argentina, faced a jaguar aboard ship, and quietly sailed the world draws this praise from Hayes: “A better shipmate than most of the crew, he is.”

16.10 Falmouth

April 8, 1902

Falmouth at last. “Every man among us are wan and broken by the hardship and hunger of this unlucky ship we want to leave.” By comparison the “ruddy-faced Englishmen” coming on board look hale and fit. The Englishmen bring food, “but it will require months to renew our health after the starvation of the past few months.”

Advertisements

15. South to the Horn

May 6, 2011

At the iron works in San Francisco, a general strike makes the city too dangerous, so Hayes signs on with a hungry four masted sailing ship for another tour around Cape Horn.

Click here for links to maps and downloads of more maps.


Here and There Synopsis:

15.1 A city on Strike

May 12, 1901

The mill superintendent’s browbeating at Eureka finally became too much. Hayes paid passage down to San Francisco on the steam schooner Santa Barbara, “and was seasick as a dog.” Upon arrival he found employment as a sheet iron worker’s helper at the Union Iron Works. “Pay is poor. $1.75 for ten hours.” On this slim salary, anything beyond bare living expenses still gets sent off in reparation for the misdeeds of his youth.

Still trying to live decently, Hayes finds rooms with Mrs. Emslie who runs a mission to women working the infamous Barbary Coast where business booms with soldiers coming and going to war in the Philipines, seamen from merchant and whaling ships carousing, and “especially Alaska fishermen.” Mrs. Emslie’s mission seems a fool’s errand to Hayes. As far as he can see, the women don’t want to rise. “They jeer those who would help them.” Nevertheless, Hayes stands with Mrs. Emslie in the streets enduring “catcalls and jeers” as she entreats all to a better life.

June 20, 1901

The iron works employs more than 5,000 men building “three torpedo boats, a cruiser, and several merchant ships … there is even a submarine, said to be the first of its kind,” and plenty of repair work. Hayes’ ears ring continuously from the constant hammering.

USS Grampus, one of two submarines
under construction at Union Iron Works in 1901

Labor unrest wracks almost every industry in San Francisco except the iron works. “The machinist, the boiler makers, and many others are on strike.” Replacement workers shipped in from Pittsburg run such a gauntlet of abuse from the strikers that the companies must quarter these “scabs” inside their workplaces. As an ironworker, not yet part of the strike, Hayes may pass the lines but not without surly bluster from the strikers.

July 6, 1901

Now the strike has spread to the teamsters and the seamen, paralyzing the entire town. “All workmen in the city are out now, and hoodlums are ruling the roost.” Perhaps if local police appointments reflected “their integrity as citizens” rather than fealty to the Catholic Church, some order could be instated. Corruption from top to bottom cripples the city.

15.2 One Soul Saved

July 27, 1901

Should the unions decide to run a labor candidate for mayor of San Francisco he would surely win. “Even the street sweepers have their union, the newsboys and up from there.” Workers and scabs clash by day and nightfall cues generalized violence and lawlessness.

Astonishingly, the ironworkers remain on the job. Nevertheless, Hayes’ work partner Risberg meets a mob of strikers on his way to work who beat him up – “for practice.” As an aside Hayes adds that Risberg spent eight months in jail in Honolulu caught smuggling 62 pounds of opium from China.

August 24,1901

With the strike escalating, leading citizens call for the governor to request National Guard intervention to restore order. “He refuses.” Strikers battle police daily in the streets. Hayes witnessed a dozen police round the Chronicle building just as twenty strikers marched toward them around the corner. “They opened fire without hesitation. One striker was killed, four bystanders hit.”

On the bright side: with all the strikers strapped for cash, “Times are a bit dull on the Barbary.” Even with the bawdy houses calm, Hayes complains that, “One of the worst features of San Francisco is the dope racket.” A shot sells for 10¢ at any drugstore. Mrs. Emslie, soldiering on, reports of its devastations especially in Chinatown. Hayes joyously accounts one man he’s seen saved from this life by the grace of God.

September 16, 1901

With the strike so dangerous, Hayes will no longer venture out after eleven at night. He dreams that maybe South Africa would be a better place, “where strikers are unknown, at least at present.” Of course he’s broke, but for the first time he writes of sending money home to help his mothers and sisters. That and repaying “for making sharp deals in days gone by,” leave him constantly down to the last dollar.

October 4, 1901

Desperate to get out of San Francisco, Hayes looks up “ old Herman, whaling shipping master,” who warns him off a sailor’s job here; better to try up in Portland.

15.3 Looking for a Ship in the Rain

October 10, 1901

On the steamer Columbia up to Portland from San Francisco Hayes tried a home remedy for the seasickness: “Someone told me if I would drink salt water it would make me very ill, but I would never suffer again.” The first part was correct at least.

Cold rain falls at Portland – of course. Hayes returns to Sullivan’s boarding house and inquires for jobs with the same Grant and McCarren who sent him out two years previously. Sullivan is “a man wholly without honor,” and Grant and McCarren “are not making money so easily as when they could rob a man of most of his wages before he earned them.” The dour mood of the city hastens Hayes toward any ship he can find. “Food is poor here, everything is bad. The San Francisco strike is hurting the entire coast.” Even another tour around Cape Horn seems better than this.

15.4 Four Masted Bark at Astoria

October 20, 1901

Hayes, now an “ordinary seaman” on the four-mast bark, Crown of India, sits at a shallow spot in the Columbia waiting a second day for the tidal surge to lift the ship off the sand grounding her. Ships rations, “poor food, almost none,” weaken all the men before the ship even reaches Astoria. Once there, the fourteen ships lined up waiting to be towed over the bar, signal another a long wait.

“The skeleton-like rigging,” of tall ships stripped bare in a gale blowing through the port of Astoria from the southeast against tall fir trees sodden from the constant rain make a gloomy start to the long voyage ahead. As does the cast of characters among the officers: A brutal bawling ship’s mate, his assistant “a swell headed third, just out of his apprenticeship,” and the American second mate, “a fair sailor.” “The usual drunken crew is aboard.” Some don’t even know under what name they’ve shipped.

Most ominous of all: “this ship is hungry.” Like the Austrasia, on his first trip around the Horn, the Crown of India carries wheat, but this flinty captain brooks no broaching of cargo. When the men complain about breaking fast every morning on burgoo, a “pitiful mass of glue,” the captain reduces morning rations to “a clouded, muddy liquid called coffee by the old Dutch cook.” Hayes wonders how men already weak from working full speed all day on poor food can be expected to pull hard around the stern seas off Cape Horn?

November 17, 1901

At noon the old cook boils salt horsemeat, with any bit left over served as dinner. Crown of India sails with the captain’s wife on board which surely explains the poor food: “it is rumored that he sold a good part of the ship’s stores to give her a good time on shore.” The swinging tides at Astoria regularly tangle the two heavy anchor chains holding the ship in port for nearly a month now. Hungry sailors haul them to the surface, fight them apart, then replace them in anticipation of the next tidal surge.

At least getting out to sea will escape this dreary place; after watching the fourteen ships ahead towed one by one over the bar, “We expect to be towed to sea tomorrow.”

15.5 300 Miles Due West

November 23, 1901

A fierce three-day gale out of Astoria forces sailors to scramble canvas down from the poles. All are seasick in the rough weather but the bellowing mate, never satisfied with the ship’s rigging, orders seaman aloft. “Hanging onto a jackstay with one hand, a bit of sail in the other and deathly sick at the same time is about enough for one in a gale.” The cook has found a few potatoes, but Hayes doubts this slight culinary improvement will last long.

15.6 Frigging South

December 11, 1901

“Frigging” means useless work. As when Fleck, the first mate, “Every night has kept us going sweating the braces, lifts, halyards and every rope on the ship.” Captain Sauter put a stop to it but Hayes doubts his kindness of heart. More likely Sauter sees the weakness of the crew and fears rounding “Cape Stiff” with sailors needlessly overworked to exhaustion.

Hayes’ constant seasickness, made worse by the bad food, brings Fleck’s bawling wrath. Toward those even less strong, Fleck does more than yell. Doudou, “a little German boy” suffers dizzy spells and cannot climb above the “sheerpoles.” For this Fleck “kicks the boy about with abandon, much to the dislike of the crew.” The Captain restrains Fleck – but then the Captain beat up an assistant himself.

15.7 “Drear Christmas Eve”

December 24, 1901

On a sailing ship like the Crown of India, officers quarter aft, sailors fore. In the forward mess, all the potatoes are gone which Hayes calls, “a calamity.” But aft, “there is plenty.” The men grumble – fearful of even less during the long dangerous journey ahead. The ever-resourceful Hayes offers to shave the “genial second mate” in return for a bit of extra food now and then. “In all his years at sea [the mate] has never learned to use a razor.”

The cheerless ship crosses the equator foregoing Neptune’s initiation rites. Rains “like I have never seen before,” soak the already despondent crew right through their useless oilskins for two days across the line. With all hands engaged catching much-needed fresh water, most of the fair weather sails blow off in a gale accompanying the rain. Morale is so bad, the ordinary sailors wish for a speedy trip home – contrary to their usual desire to sail slowly to earn as much as possible for the debauch at home port.

On Christmas Eve light directionless winds puff at the ship – just right for more of Fleck’s frigging: “It gives him a reason for chasing catspaws round the compass, every man hauling his heart out, no one alive enough to lead a chantey.” No sailor’s song for the holiday – just the tempo of Fleck’s constant cursing.

15.8 Jonah of the ship

January 1, 1902

Sailors on this starving, fearful ship look for a “Jonah” – the source of all their bad luck. A little rhesus monkey one of the crew picked up off Sumatra suffered this identity until the first day of the new year. After the monkey died of its mistreatment, the ship made “12 knots under to-gan-sals” for two whole days with the crew celebrating losing their totem of ill fortune. When the wind blew out, consensus settled on a good-natured Mulatto sailor as the new Jonah. But he takes it so cheerily, “Everybody swears, and wishes the monkey was back.”

As Captain Sauter continues restraining Fleck from excesses of physical abuse, Fleck bides the time sailing south content with curses and threats: “The old man can’t stay on deck all the time and watch you. Let any bloody man shirk, he’ll roost on the royal yard right round Old Stiff!” (Hayes’ quote) The unlucky Crown of India has already lost one man blown from the rigging before Hayes came aboard; ordering a sailor up to the high royals in the wild storms off Cape Horn threatens his life.

Hayes makes no mention of any celebration marking the New Year.

15.9 Fire in the Cargo!

January 5, 1902

Damp, rotting wheat will sometimes generate enough heat to catch fire. Perhaps if the hungry crew had been allowed to broach cargo, someone would have noticed heat building up before “smoke was pouring up from the after hatch.” A thousand miles from land, “a reckless Swede, Schillerstrom,” waded into the smoke saving the ship. “Must have been spontaneous combustion.”

In an unrelated development: “Fleck has sore eyes,” now swollen completely shut. Blind and enraged, Fleck calls the mulatto Jonah aft bellowing, “every curse and abominable abusive word he has in his large vocabulary.” No “man forward of the mainmast” can restrain his glee, hoping Fleck’s blindness holds until they arrive safely round the Horn. Even Hayes, who has read in his Bible that one should love our enemies and pray for those who do us evil, finds “it difficult to mean it when I pray for Fleck.”

15.10. Nearing the Cape

January 12, 1902

Even with fair weather, the Crown of India makes poor speed; “the ship has a foul bottom.” Waiting in Astoria those long weeks, the sailors dragged a “great scrubbing brush” from sided to side across her bottom – not very effectively. In calm water Hayes can see two feet of sea grass dragging along growing out from the hull.

“Flecks eyes are in frightful condition, and this arouses the greatest joy from the entire crew.” Whatever responsibility Captain Stuart has for starving the crew, at least he is not brutal. With Fleck lying below deck in severe pain, the Captain simply and competently sails the ship southward. When Crown of India “sprung a yard at its parrel,” the men would have tried to replace it for the Captain but he can see that they are weak “and is willing to give us a break.”

With humane treatment from the Captain, some of the gloom lifts from Crown of India. Still, this is a lonely dangerous place for any ship. The dangers of the Horn approach ahead and from behind, “ tremendous seas that follow us sometimes give apprehension of pooping a sea” – that is, a wave breaking over the stern of the ship.


9. Around the Horn

March 26, 2011

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.


8. To Sea

March 19, 2011

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.