Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Prayers to Ss. Erasmus and Devota

The wine-dark sea smashed incessantly against the ship throughout the night, tossing the ship about in random pitches amidst the pitches and rolls of the ship ascending and then diving with the frothing waves whipped up by the howling gales. On deck, Capt. Correteaux and his crew struggled to keep control of the helm while maintaining the closest possible haul into the wind. With all but the mainsail furled, and it reefed three times, and a spitfire jib set, the Pharaon worked to windward, keeping its bow into the frothing waves crashing over the decks.

Belowdecks, the crew worked the pumps without cease and sought what off-watch rest they could find, clinging to their hammocks as they were tossed about by the groaning and heaving ship. Many, finding their consciences as restless as their bodies in the heavy weather, found their way back to the captains's quarters, and Cardinal Maximilian's attendants found themselves hearing confessions through the night as the storm raged.

Six bells into the middle watch, the ship entered what seemed to be the heart of the storm. The lightning and thunder was nearly incessant, and the ship rolled routinely through forty degrees. The groaning of the ship increased in volume to a steady growl, for minutes seemingly stretching into hours. Seasickness belowdecks was nearly universal, and most below could do little but cling to the bulwarks and seek to keep all items in the cabins stowed and secured.

A lightning flash acccompanied by thunderclap resounding like a cannon report through the ship was followed by another cracking, groaning and crash. The boatswain's mate of the watch opened the companionway hatch in a flood of seawater and bellowed down for all hands on deck for dismasting recovery.


tradgardmastare said...

Another nail biting instalment- keep it up
p.s Are you a fan of the work of Patrick O'Brian perchance?

Frankfurter said...

hmmnn ... looks like those witches really brewed big stew this time!