Part 35

Part the Thirty Fifth: Sailing Into the Cay

“Land! Land!” Bosfelt cried before the sun reached the western horizon. Hope finished the piece she was playing, finally able to resume her duties as musician, then looked up to see in the distance a small piece of green and white land before the bow.

“Trim the rig!” Osei called out. “Mister Goor, Mister Garland, let slack the mainsail. Mister Herbert, Mister Saxe, slacken the topsail. Mister Kelly, to your position on the bowspirit. Mister Mesnil, soundings.”

Under Osei’s orders, the Raging Gale slowed as she came to the Cay. Captain Sanders handled the till, slowly bringing her to port until the bow came closer to the isle at an angle, then giving small nudges to the till every so often.

Hope noticed that with each small nudge, the waters right around the Gale stayed blue while to the sides the color got lighter. After a while the water near her lightened to a teal color as it turned turquoise further off, giving the water under the ship the appearance of a path leading up to the Cay.

“Sounding,” commanded Osei.

Mesnil, his youth of fifteen years apparent in his voice and face despite his broad shoulders, dropped a weighted rope off the bow, then rolled it back up. “Five fathoms,” he cried after the end came up on deck.

Sanders gave a quick set of nudges to the till to keep the ship to the path.

“I see dinner tonight!” Hope heard Garland sing out from the mainsail rigging. “Off the starboard!”

Hope looked with the others who were heeding his call at the school of fish swimming towards them in shallow waters.

Ja,” said Zoutman, “those are good cooked. We get nets for those when we’re in the Cay.”

“Three fathoms,” cried Mesnil after he hauled up the rope as Hope started to see the ship’s shadow on the bottom as she sailed closer.

“We be in the channel,” said Kelly as the Gale slid up to the beaches of the isle.

“Are we going to run aground?” Hope asked aloud.

“Nay, lass,” said Collins. “The Cay be to the other side of the trees there, out of the line from anyone sailing by. She’s a good safe harbor, not one ye be under fire in if you were ambushed.”

“Three fathoms,” cried Mesnil.

“No other masts therein,” cried Bosfelt. “We be having the Cay to ourselves.”

“Mister Herbert, Mister Saxe, trim her taught,” commanded Osei. Sanders gave a slight shift to the till, and the ship picked up some speed with the wind in her upper sail.

“Four fathoms,” cried Mesnil.

Hope watched as the water grew darker and the crew seemed more relaxed. As the ship turned to starboard, the back line of the trees came into view, and the Raging Gale was surrounded not by endless blue sea, but trees on most sides circling a calm patch of water.

“We be in the Cay,” announced Sanders to the crew after she handed the till to Campbell. “As Mister Folard gives her his best eye, we be taking three days to re-supply here. And if we take less days than that to get our stores stowed, we still be here three days with your time your own.”

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All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan






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