Wednesday, November 18, 2020


6 X 3

Eighteen of us strained at the capstan.  The ship slowly crept forward until the chain was straight vertical.  Or rather I should say 17.  Jacky O'Rourke, at my right hand, was a master shirker.  I could even see the veins rising on his left hand next to mine, but he wasn't really doing any work.

The ship seemed to bow its head a bit, but more than that was impossible, its displacement set in stone.  And then the chain snapped violently on the foredeck, and lashed poor Jacky in the throat.  He begged me for water, lying on his back, and then perished.

When we took to the capstan the mate had us already under tops'ls aback and the spanker, and we were under way in less than a full minute.  We left the starboard bower hooked under a boulder, and we left Jacky in President Roads, in 25 fathoms, weighed down with pieces of the anchor chain so that no one would have to watch the gulls circling over him.

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