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The storm does not abate


 

There's no time limit on a good adventure and very often it's the oldies that really are the goodies - they certainly don't write them like they did back in the eighteen hundreds anymore:“The gale does not abate: if the Beagle was not an excellent sea-boat and our tackle in good condition, we would be in distress.

A less gale has dismasted and foundered many a good ship. The worst part of the business is our not exactly knowing our position: it has an awkward sound to hear the officers repeatedly telling the lookout man to look well to leeward. Our horizon was to a small compass by the spray carried by the wind. The sea looked ominous: there was so much foam, that it resembled a dreary plain covered by patches of snow. Whilst we were heavily labouring, it was curious to see how the albatross with its widely expanded wings, glided right up the wind.”

“At noon the storm was at its height, and we began to suffer. A great sea struck us and came aboard: the after tackle of the quarter boat gave way and, an axe being obtained, they were instantly obliged to cut away one of the beautiful whale boats. The same sea filled our decks so deep that if another had followed it is not difficult to guess the result. It is not easy to imagine what state of confusion the decks were in from the great body of water. At last the ports were knocked open and she again rose buoyant to the sea...Captain FitzRoy considered it the worst gale he was ever in.”

Charles Darwin, Tierro del Fuego. 13 January 1833

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