Posted by: Blue Lou Logan | March 15, 2015

Letters from the ‘Starbird’ #1

[By way of introduction… Friends will know that I have just started a brand new job, and it is quite the exciting opportunity. “Pirate Lou” has, at least in way, gotten into the maritime business. It’s really the travel business, but, since the travel is aboard six yachts, three with sail, I’ll call it the maritime business. I am going to keep the actual name of my employer off this blog, as well as any real names, and I will not at an any time either disclose private information or dish dirt. In fact, I am going to couch this creatively as ‘letters’ from a new-to-the-ropes sailor written to his sweetheart back home, as if from a tramp freighter. Letters will be sent when our fictitious sailor lands long enough in a ‘port’ to get a letter in the post. I will call the vessel, riffing off the name of my employer, the “Starbird.” The sweetheart, as a nod to O’Brian’s Captain Aubrey, shall be “Sophie,” and similarly, it will be 1815, not 2015. Got all that? Let the adventure begin…]

14 March, 1815

Dearest Sophie,

I have been with the Starbird for a whole week now. We have yet to leave port, but there is so much to learn and so much to do to be ready to set sail. She is a fine vessel, seasoned but clean, with a friendly, knowledgable crew. In fact, my dear, it might serve best to describe the people with whom I am being trained. Our instructor is Lt. Ephraim Darland, a right affable chap, fond of his ale but not to excess, who is usually only a sentence away from spinning a yarn from his travels. There is an older man, Tiberius, who had owned his own boat for years but has never served on the deep sea. Nolasco comes from Puerto Rico and is excited to see the wildlife we will encounter on our voyages. I have grown fond already of Jack, an intelligent, creative man who has spent time among the Ottomans. “J.P.,” as he prefers to be called, is from distant Hawaii and hopes to touch on his home islands soon. Terence was working on a degree in science before turning to working on the sea. Strahan, who I am just getting to know, reminds my very much of our old friend Allen. Finally, there is a man from Korea in the Far East, whose name I have not yet wrapped my head around.

The Captain, a Mr. Torsten, is a man we only occasionally see but who very much commands the operations. They say he has always been the business, even as a child. As such, he wants his new crew to know as much as possible before we head off into what is for us the unknown. The Captain, truly a prudent and heedful commander, does not want his men in trouble as we tramp to hundreds of ports. And there are so many places we may go! I have heard in detail of the old Spanish Empire in the Caribbean and of baths made of stone on the isle of Virgin Gorda. There are the wonders of Arabia: ancient temples of the Egyptian gods, Bedouin nomads, a fortress carved into rose-red rock cliffs that can only be reached by the narrowest of canyons. I have heard of the Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Malta, of the birthplace of the great Archimedes, of art and unbelievable foods, of volcanoes.

I hasten to point out, however, that, while romantic notions may stir the imagination, there is real work to be done. We are servants on a trader. As such, the Lieutenant is making sure we know the ship’s rules and regulations, and that we are prepared for both the trials of the sea and the dangers of foreign lands. I cannot be happier about the care with which,we, naught but plebeians, are being given careful instruction. When I left you, we were scared of all the horrible, brutal rumors of a sea life, but my confidence grows daily. Indeed, I think I have impressed the Lieutenant with my enthusiasm.

My dear Sophie, while it pains me beyond measure to part from you and the land, I would be dishonest were I not to share my feelings of anticipation. Perhaps you should not know, but word came yesterday of a volcano erupting in Puerto Rico, which has set shipping in the area into high alert. But, dearest, can you imagine?

My heart is with you. I hope this letter finds you swiftly and finds you well. We should set sail in another week. I will write as often as I can!

Yours affectionately…


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