Tempering the handful of victories the H.M.S. Baci savored during her extended and convoluted circumnavigation, was a spat of humiliating failures. Notable was the setback the ship and company suffered when they made their first attempt on Cape Horn in 1833. Weeks of vexing winds, sudden squalls and blasting cold thwarted success. The good ship could not claw her way around the Horn and neither could she sneak by during the too brief window of fair weather. At last, her rigging wounded, her mizzen mast a stump, and her crew much reduced by the monstrous waves that swept her decks, the H.M.S. Baci turned tail and limped back to the South American coast seeking a harbor with the naval stores to rebuild and repair, lick wounds and reconstitute the crew’s fortitude.
The captain’s resolve needed no such attention; in fact she had remained steadfast defiant, nonplussed and a fair example right up to the moment Stumpy Pete’s peg came unshipped and sailed onto the stalwart captain’s pate. She’d had herself lashed to a mast so she could howl ordered and wave her arms unconcerned for her own safety when the missile knocked her senseless.
Half the available crew hailed the captain to her cabin, willing hands buoying her ample bosoms and other tempting parts while the rest of the crew seized the opportunity to bring the floundering ship about and flee the Horn. Words pale to describe the captain’s reaction when she finally recovered her senses and learned they had been beaten.
Sir Edmund Roberts acquitted himself quite well both in attempt on the Horn and the subsequent coddling of the unconscious captain and it was to him that she passed her orders to enter the harbor so they could expedite their return.
He sighted his 12th Sea Maiden in the transparent depths of midday. She drifted slowly by the bell’ seemingly transfixed, the only other movement being her hair, at once ahoo and dancing in the light currents. Gnarly Dan, accompanying Sir Edmund in the diving apparatus whispered that she was slumbering, carried by the slow tidal sweep: “Yer Sea Maiden dearly loves to sleep; for it’s there she dreams of her sailor.”
Sir Edmund Roberts journal reads:
Maidenus Somnolentus – “Lisa”
February 27, 1833
Port Desire, Coast of South America
Beautiful coloration. Strong body. Handsomely equipped for motherhood. Quiet smile.