17 Falmouth to New York

May 22, 2011

Which is more extraordinary, sailing on board a ship intentionally grounded on the coast of England?  Or sailing across the Atlantic while Marconi performs radio experiments on board?

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Here and There Synopsis:

17.1 Never Again

April 16,1902

Everyone on the Crown of India celebrates the end of this gruesome trip: Captain Sauter and his wife pound the piano they bought with “the proceeds of the food we should have eaten on the voyage;” Fleck taunts the men and “boasts of having taken all we have to give on this voyage;” and the crew buy drink, cigarettes, socks, and clothing on advance against their pay at Hamburg from the “bumboat” sharks who board the ship having negotiated a split with the Captain.

Hayes buys “a couple of cans of tinned milk that tasted wonderfully well,” and swears he will never again sign on as a sailor on a deep-water ship. Fleck’s sadistic taunting accurately describes the broken crew. Hayes writes, “All I can do is return home and try to regain my lost health, for to ship in another like this would kill me.”

At twenty-four, having roamed the world for nine years, twice sailing around the horn, never staying for more than a few months in any one place, one wonders what Hayes can possibly mean by “home.”

17.2 “Ful-an’-by! Right Over Ole England!”

April 30, 1902

The celebration turns out to have been premature. “A dead muzzler right down channel” prevents the ship from sailing north to Hamburg. “We have been beating up channel for near a month now, making a few miles then blowing out to sea and back again, a heart-breaking task if there ever was one.” Scarce food and futile work once again haunt the ship.

Then Fleck makes a mistake. Hayes’ port watch under Fleck’s command stumbles on deck at 4:00 AM preparing to join the night watch to turn the ship as it approaches the English coast for a tack back toward France as, “has been the custom for days on end.” But Fleck sends the night watch below, choosing to turn the ship as it sails closer to England. Fleck leaves orders for Juan Guerrero at the helm to sail “full and by the wind,” and a “sleepy Englishman … on watch as lookout,” before going below himself.

An hour later, Missouri and Hayes chat with “Chile” as the Swede Schillerstrom arrives to take the helm so Guerrero can go for coffee. Then, in the breaking light of dawn, “ I saw we were almost on the land, and ran forward to call the crew while Missouri endeavored to get the mate.”

The crew turned out to mill about the deck awaiting orders. Hayes ran back to the poop where Schillerstrom still had the wheel; no mate had yet arrived to give an order. Hayes caught “the roguish eye of Schillerstrom as he stood at the wheel,” still sailing straight on course toward the Dungeness light dead ahead. “Ful–an’–by! Full–an’–by th’ wind! That’s my course. I’m a–goin’ to run right over ole England if she doesn’t get out of the way!”

Fleck, “not realizing the seriousness of the situation,” arrived on deck just as the Crown of India drove onto the low sandy mud of the beach. All sails immediately fouled, blown back into the rigging of a ship run aground. “In a short time the decks were full of coastguards, tugboat men and many others wishing to be in at the kill.”

Oddly, Schillerstrom bears no responsibility for the grounding, “for orders are orders with a sailor and must be obeyed.” Captain Sauter furiously commanded Fleck out of sight below deck before trying “every method he knew to get the ship off the ground.” When none of Sauter’s tricks work, the tugboat captains gleefully offer Captain Sauter 3,000 pounds to pull her off the mud.

17.3 Behind a Strong Tug

May 2, 1902

Schillerstrom ran the Crown of India aground at low tide. An eighteen foot tidal rise lifts her free from the sand scattering the tugs hovering nearby. Now that the ship floats free again, a German tug, the Atlas, offers to tow her the 650 miles to Hamburg for 140 pounds. Sauter accepts and, beating steadily north past hundreds of ships, despite the cold, “it seems as if we are on holiday.”

Fleck still glowers behind Captain Sauter’s back, but he “is reduced to a mere passenger now, and the sailors are no longer afraid of him.”

17.4 Human Again

May 5, 1902

On their last day in the North Sea a favorable wind rose. Crown of India set some light sails and nearly ran down the tug Atlas. After a frantic signal to “shorten down,” both ship and tug turned up the Elbe passing Helgoland Island, Cuxhaven, Brunsbuttel, “and numerous towns and villages along the 90-mile reach between Cuxhaven and Hamburg.” The German landscape appears tidy and prosperous to Hayes with “a red-cheeked maiden busily knitting,” behind every flock of geese.

The mighty German ships headed downriver, “to China, to Australia, to New York,” testify that, “Germany is now a great and wealthy nation, proud of her place in the world and determined to surpass all others in her lust for power.”

Arriving at Hamburg, “a horde of thieves descended on us.” Hayes was able to corral Missouri and Charlie, a German-American lad, toward the German sailors home run by missionaries, but every other sailor on board found chaperones from, “houses of ill fame, brothels low and brothels high, boarding houses and bars.” While the others begin their riot in the fleshpots, Missouri and Charlie entrust Hayes with their gold sovereigns and the three treat themselves to, “a decent meal, clean and served as if we were human instead of lower than beasts.”

May 7, 1902

Charlie came for a pound, then later, despite Hayes’ remonstrations, “he took a couple of sovereigns and I have not seen him since.” With the location of the Seamanshaus, “in the quarter called St. Pauli, which is the sporting district of Hamburg,” Missouri hears the siren’s call too. “He was smitten with the ample physical charms of the Teutonic damsel and despite my efforts to ride herd on him he succumbed.”

Rising alone the next morning, Hayes tours Hamburg on foot, marking his way by a distinctive street sign, “Haltestallederstrasseneisenbaun.” After walking miles to Wandsbek, Haltestallederstrasseneisenbaun (which means something like trolley stop) appears on several different streets, heading in several different directions. Lost for the entire day, Hayes made it back to the seamanshaus just in time for the last of the five daily meals, “we receive for the modest sum of five marks per day.”

May 8, 1902

The sovereigns spent so far have been advance against payday – today. The entire crew showed up, many with “contusions and torn clothes,” but none worse than Juan Guerrero who, “tried to defeat the entire police force of Hamburg after tanking up on the fiery beverage served him at his ‘home’.”

With his pay each man receives a discharge order, based on ability and conduct. Most of the crew receives honorable discharge; only two sailors receive “decline to report” (Hayes’ quote) for ability but not conduct. However, Hayes is close enough to hear that Fleck receives “decline to report” for both ability and conduct. Captain Sauter fired him.

As the crew return to “the joys of St. Pauli,” Hayes continues to walk the city bumping into some other Americans – from Utah. “Why don’t you ask us how many wives we’ve got: all the rest do.” Hayes smoothed over this irritable remark and accompanied them to the docks where they met eleven other missionaries bound for Sweden. One of the young girls was pretty but he declined an invitation to visit their chapel.

At the Hamburg-American Line office, it turns out that a ticket directly to New York costs more than a detour through Liverpool continuing on by Cunard. So Hayes buys the cheaper ticket and one fro Missouri too who, “is repentant because of his folly in wasting his substance in riotous living.” Hayes’ other mates, Chris, Albert, McCusker, Schillstrom, and Chile show up, “trembling from spiked booze, from fighting and general dissipation in the bagnios of Hamburg.” The Crown of India sailed 176 starving, tortured days around the Cape Horn; after three furious days in port, most of her crew already need to find another ship to finance the next binge.

17.5 Spring on the Elbe

May 10,1902

Hayes and Missouri pay for passage on the British ship Warrington enroute to Grimsby, England. Spring on the Elbe pushes green grass and buds on the trees.

With no particular rancor, Hayes reports that Fleck is also sailing on the Warrington. He’s tame and speaks civilly claiming the skipper mistreated him by giving the bad discharge. “One would never realize he is the same man. Perhaps it will do him good, but he is rather old to mend his ways now.”

17.6 Stopover at Grimsby

May 12, 1902

“Three West Indian negroes, an old sailor who is as grouchy as they make them, and a couple of Jewesses from Galacia,” round out the passenger list on this “vile, rotten,” ship. When the old sailor stole Hayes’ one outfit of clothes, “the three big blacks barred the door while everybody in the forecastle turned his bag inside out.” All concerned lectured the old man, but “he was too old to turn over to the police, they would have used him hardly.”

“Grimsby is a drab town, redolent of fish smells and ragged, ill kept women.” But Hayes does admire the sailors here. They catch more fish than anywhere in the British Isles going out in all manner of seas in small craft with waves constantly dashing over them even in light weather.

17.7 Longing for Eureka in Liverpool

May 12, 1902

Liverpool “with its grimy waterfront and smoke,” rates no higher than Grimsby as a place to live. When longing for home back on the Crown of India, Hayes meant Eureka, California. After his mistreatment at sea, the mill manager Gill now seems like a quirky, congenial fellow by comparison to the likes of Fleck.

And an after thought from Hamburg: In the Seamanshaus hung pictures of crooks wanted by the German police. Among them Hayes recognized Dublin, the brawling Irishman from the Austrasia, now wanted for broaching cargo. The sailor’s hard life has already taken its toll on Dublin. “In a few years Dublin will have come to an untimely end despite his great strength, for he burns the candle at both ends.”

17.8 Marconi’s Wireless Contraption

May 16, 1902

Still in poor health, Hayes has no thought of signing on with a ship out of Liverpool. Instead, he and Missouri purchase tickets on the Campania, of the Cunard line. Quite by chance, Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian physicist and developer of the radio telegraph, also happens to be sailing on the Campania.

Guglielmo Marconi

“We have a notable in the person of one Signor Marconi, who is Italian in name, but is half English. A dark man, black and tousled hair, with deep, dark eyes. Handsome, I would call him. He seems so intense, for he is making an especial experiment with a wireless contraption slung between the masts. The sailors curse him and his invention heartily, calling it the ‘Macaroni System’, after its inventor. By this method he can send messages across the sea without wires, so he says. It is clumsy, cumbersome, has to be taken down every night and put up mornings. In port it comes down, and keeps the sailors on the hop a good part of the time.”

In addition to Marconi, the Campania carries many Irish, Poles, Russians, and Scandinavian immigrants, none of these described as quite so handsome nor quite so clean as the Italian/English inventor. To the immigrant girls, Missouri is something of an attractive novelty. “He never worries, like I do, for he always trusts in some beneficent angel to drag him out of the messes he gets into constantly.”

17.9 A Horseless Carriage in New York

May 24, 1902

Missouri disappeared before dawn on the day after the two arrived in New York.
Perhaps the bedbugs in the room on Hudson Street chased him away, or maybe he was tired of Hayes’ protective hovering. In any case, Missouri is gone and Hayes is on his own in New York.

Their trip with Marconi on the Campania established a new speed record, five days, sixteen hours, for westward Atlantic passage. Her sister ship, the Luciana, still holds the record going east. Germany has some fast ships too, all named for royalty and nobility: “such as the Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse, the Kron Prinz Wilhelm, Kron Prnizessen Cecille, Eitel Fritz and all the rest of the royal family.” When he was in Germany, swell-headed citizens boasted of war, “ridiculing the Americans at Manila and in Cuba” Soldiers and sailors stepped smartly everywhere about Hamburg. Already, in May of 1902, Hayes writes, “I wonder if there will be war.”

Not far from his rooming house, the very tall oddly shaped Flatiron Building begins to rise on a stone and steel foundation.

Flatirons Building 1903

And past this construction site chugs a bizarre new machine Hayes has never before encountered: “I see strange vehicles steaming up and down the main streets that do not have horses to draw them. These are called horseless carriages , or automobiles. They make a chug-chug sound like a motorboat, with blue, stinking smoke coming out behind. It costs ten cents to ride up Fifth Avenue on one of these cars. The horses shy at them, though are not scared at other city traffic. I like the street cars best, but have little money to spend on them or anything else.”

16. North From the Horn – Starving

May 13, 2011

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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.”

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.

10. London to Philedelphia

April 1, 2011

I’m sorry Peter; he thinks Liverpool is a drab city.  Brian, I have been in Philadelphia – it’s a lovely city – he’s in a hurry to get to Cripple Creek, Colorado.

The map below shows the path of chapter 9 in pink, chapter 10 in blue with popups, and the path of chapter 11 in Orange.

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):

– Scilly Islands
– Cap Grinez
– Spurn Head
– Hull, England
– London, England (any of the sites mentioned)
– Liverpool, England
– Queensland, England
– Philadelphia PA

Previous photo requests

Here and There Synopsis:

10.1  Scilly Islands, Racing a Freighter

March 4, 1899

Only Tom the Australian, Tom the negro, Riley and Hayes could resist the “colleen”; all the other men are broke and will have to sign on with other ships in London. Fagan has a dozen pair of green socks with embroidered shamrocks to remind him of the old country.

Passing the Scilly Islands, the Austrasia caught a fair wind and ran the “Longships,” a narrow strait between the islands and land’s end. In the brisk winds of the strait, the skipper ordered every sail aloft as their sailing ship drew alongside a steam driven freighter. As long as the wind held, the Austrasia flew past the great ship, but once past the islands the wind fell light and the freighter left them wallowing.

Another prank from Hayes: In these cold northern waters, he and Fagan had taken to slipping into the officers’ locker “during intervals between bells”. The hated Bews locked it to keep out the riffraff. So Hayes drove a piece of teak wood into the lock. The carpenter broke a reamer off trying to fix it and now the officers are locked out of their own locker. The captain has offered a pound for the culprit. The men know who did it but none will tell.

10.2 In the Throat of the Channel

March 7, 1899

In this confined channel, short waves break constantly over the ship drenching all. Hayes counts 105 trawlers fishing the channel at one time. Europe lives off the sea.

Some French fishermen from Cap Grinez board the ship with red wine to trade for old clothes. The giant boatswain, who would trade his soul for a drink, and the giant Dublin ransack their scant store of clothing looking for something to trade for this “belly wash.” The Frenchmen are clad only in light undershirts seemingly heedless of the cold.

10.3 Paid off at Hull

March 13,1899

A sturdy tug tows the Austrasia past Spurn Head upriver to Hull where the men are immediately paid off. Only Tom the Australian, Tom the Negro, Wally Lawrence and Hayes have funds for a trip to London. Fagan, the Montana cowpuncher, Baker and several others are wondering what to do – perhaps they have enough to go at least to Cardiff in Wales with the Boatswain.

All the apprentices must stay with the ship for their term of four years before becoming officers. They are a decent lot and Hayes will miss them.

10.4 At the Sailor’s Home in London

March 13, 1899

After paying passage to London, Hayes, the two Toms, Wally and Arthur McCoy, who is drunk already, take rooms at the Sailor’s Home right in the heart of the worst slums of London. To be safe, Hayes banks his earnings at the office of the Sailor’s Home. With eyes popping at the sum Hayes deposits, the proprietor thinks Hayes must be a robber. From now on Hayes will be the rich Yank at the Home.

In the short time Hayes takes to deposit his earnings, all his companions are now “sodden with drink.” While writing his usual two-paragraph lament for the plight of the prostitutes thronging the port district, Hayes admits his own moral shortcomings while wishing better from himself. The tone of his description of the district is not particularly condemning, more heartsick at the way of the world: Watching barefoot children who’ve never had a decent meal in their lives, “rushing the can to the pub,” is more than his world-weary twenty-one year old soul can bear. “Even the tiny children drink.”

March 20, 1899

Leaving his friends behind in the squalor of the riverfront, Hayes walks the more prosperous districts of London on a poor man’s sight seeing tour: The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the zoo, Kensington Gardens, the museum of Natural History at South Kensington, Barnum and Bailey Circus at the Olympia (“a breath of the homeland”), Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’, the naval observatory of Greenwich, and the wild animals at Regent’s Park which enchant him the most.

After nine days in London, even the sailors who had resisted “bumboat Mary” and her colleen are now broke and looking for ships. Tom the Australian, Arthur McCoy, and Wally depart for Cardiff where they will catch a ship to Australia. Hayes would like to go with these “good mates” but the time is not now so he must say goodbye.

March 24, 1899

A visit to Madame Tussaud’s wax museum underscores for Hayes the sharp distinction between the wealth of the West End and the poverty of the East End. Rich philanthropists who pay their help, “sailors for instance,” starvation wages to amass a great fortune see their likeness cast in wax but beware the workingman who steals a crust of bread; it’s prison for such as him.

At St. Paul’s cathedral, dressed neatly but as a sailor, Hayes asks a parishioner how he might “find salvation from the sins that so constantly beset him.” The worshiper regards Hayes disdainfully – as he would a beggar asking for money. After a little music and the reading of the first chapter of Joshua Hayes “left the place disappointed.”

10.5 Liverpool, a Drab City

March 27, 1899

Hayes pays full fare for 204 miles by rail from London to Liverpool through rural country of neat cottages with thatched roofs, gloomy castles, and vast country estates. The countryside is beautiful in contrast to the redbrick monotony, smoke, and chill along the docks of Liverpool.

No ship bound for America will sign a Yank sailor only to have him jump ship once across the Atlantic. Hayes turns down a Norwegian bark bound for Brazil electing instead to pay passage back to the States. As he is “half dead with cold,” and near the end of his stake, the good wages he made mining turn him back toward the American West.

10.6 Loading Immigrants at Liverpool

March 29, 1899

The S.S. Belgenland, an old Red Star boat of 3,000 to 4,000 tons headed for Philadelphia, carries mostly Russian and Polish immigrants crammed into quarters “horrible beyond description.” Amid the babble of so many languages, each passenger wears a tag identifying his or her nationality showing callous sailors down which shoots to herd these human cattle.

March 31, 1899

At Queensland another great hoard of Irish immigrants shoves on board, every one “ignorant of what lies ahead.” In the long rolling seas off Cape Clear, Russians, Poles, and Irish huddle miserably on deck sick in body and spirit, longing for homes all across Europe in this, “frightful ship that may sink at any minute.”

10.7 Rough All the Way Across the North Atlantic

April 3, 1899

The ship sails a great circle route to shorten the trip and seas remain rough this far north. The Russians have regained strength on the ship’s food which Hayes hears called by various names: “burgoo” at breakfast; “Mulligan” at noon; “lamb stew, haricot mutton, sea pie, haricot veal, or Irish Stew [for supper]; and at last when it will no longer hang together hash.” He notes however that each name describes exactly the same meal.

10.8 Philadelphia, all roads have their end

April 10, 1899

Hayes and all other ship’s passengers face a formal physical examination as the ship draws into port at Philadelphia. Many of the Irish, enfeebled by the journey, fail inspection and now face the same rough, cold journey right back to where they started. Hayes too is down with influenza and barely makes it into the country himself.

Without dallying for even a day in Philadelphia, Hayes boards a train (paying fare) bound for Colorado where he hopes the pure Rocky Mountain air will clear his lungs. Sick and worked nearly to death at sea, his spirits ebb: as he passes the heads at Capes May and Henlopen he wonders if he’ll ever see “the cold, grey sea” again.

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.