Charles always was a bit of an odd character. He was a hard worker though, and because of that the captain overlooked most of his eccentricities.
His tendency to speak with the stressed Rs of a Hollywood pirate got on the nerves of some of his shipmates though. What really did their heads in though was his “practices.”
And exactly what did he practice? Well things like climbing the mast. Yes, the 3 metre mast with no rigging. Worst of all, however, was his “mutiny drill,” where he would spend hours “walking the plank.”
“Uncle. Do you know that Dutch merchantman we passed this morning? It has turned and is following us,” young Ben Taylor reported. “It has taken down its flag and put up an odd black one instead.”
“Uncle Will” immediately ordered that the East India Company colours be lowered from his own gaff, and that the White Ensign be hoisted.
“Clear the decks,” he shouted, and the men of HMS Greyhound pulled canvas off of their “cargo” revealing the ship’s 18 guns. The ruse had worked again and yet another pirate was going to feel Commander “Uncle Will” Monroe’s Greyhound’s bite.
“Still waters run deep.” What an amazing metaphor. But out on the big pond, still waters are a godsend. “The Deep,” has her moments of calm, but Magellan got it wrong when he named the Pacific. This expanse of deep shows her temper far too often.
Well, that is what the still waters of Petty Officer Mike Sanchez’s mind were pondering as he checked the lifeline on his harness, and made his way from the gun deck of his destroyer. As he did, the vessel pitched headlong into a trough, and the bow disappeared into a next rising peak.
Will Harvey was set on winning the competition. There was a huge £100000 prize for whoever could break the record for circumnavigating the globe withershins, against all prevailing currents and without the aid of an engine.
All had started well. In fact, yesterday he was a full two days ahead of schedule when things seemed to turn to grief. His vessel gave a sudden jolt, and then shimmied before listing heavily to port. He noticed that his unwanted companions, the bilge rats, began to scurry upwards, and then to abandon ship. Then, the craft jolted again, capsizing and throwing Will against the ceiling.
Well what would you do in his shoes? He did the only thing he could do in the circumstances. He held his breath and swam to position himself on the upturned keel. He then retrieved a broken plank and began to feather and square the board in order to propel himself forward.
As he arrived in the harbour, there was quite the commotion. The initial cheers at his arrival became muted, the screams could be heard as people looked aghast at his vessel. Personally, Will couldn’t see what all the brouhaha was about. He waved to the crowd, and headed of for a much needed cup of tea, unaware of the three metre long tentacle still attached to his boat.
Fourteen days. It was fourteen days since the winds had dried up. The sails hung limply from the yardarms. They were adrift with no means of self propulsion. But if the stars were telling the truth Raven was caught in a current that was carrying her slowly to the southwest. The operative word here was slowly. There were enough provisions for months, as their cargo was of salt fish. The problem was water, without it even the abundant cargo was nearly useless. The men were on half water rations already. What Raven needed was wind, and barring that, enough of a nudge by the current to move them closer a landfall which surely must be somewhere over the southwest horizon.