Replete with a new mizzen mast, a recovered captain and a rested crew, the second attempt at rounding Cape Horn went as easily as “kiss my hand;” and so in fine spirit’s the Baci sailed into the vast Pacific Ocean and up the western coast of South America, fair weather and fine sailing lofting morale to its newest peak. But the sense of goodwill and harmonious interdependence faltered and then failed with the sighting of the 13th Sea Maiden. Sir Edmund Robert’s journal entries best recount the series of events: Curses of curse, most vile of luck! 13 indeed! Were I not the handmaiden of science I would fairly chuck the remainder of our voyage, strangle the crew, maroon the fickle captain (despite her beauty) and burn the good ship Baci to her waterline.
It began whilst I was sub aquatic in Halley’s patented diving bell, the H.M.S, Baci languishing in a snug and deserted bay replenishing fresh supplies ashore. It seems the hunting party led by Soshy George chanced upon a sunning Sea Maiden, befriended her and preferred grog to the point of blind inebriation and beyond until the poor dear lost consciousness and prompted panic-laced argument among her temptors – abandon her on the sand? Carry her to the ship? In the end they floated her in an attempt at revival and were astonished when a Sea Master appeared cowing the crew with foul glances and then gently gathering up the maiden and returning with her to the depths, passing the diving apparatus and affording us the sight of their moving quite carefully to sea.” Non-plussed, Gnarly Dan, my bell mate remarked, “She’s a beauty, ain’t she? Appears besotted though and that can’t be good; it’s that way with all woman — they can handle a compliment much better than a drink. That’d be Neptune , her king, doing the rescue work.”
And from the seeds grow our monumental fractiousness. The crew is divided as such; those angry with their mates playing the fool with a Sea Maiden and rum; those ensnared in explaining away the Sea Master as Neptune and thus no treat to the romantic link between Sea Maiden and sailors; those remarking the Sea Master’s lack of saintly beard, trident and advanced age as proof he is not Neptune and therefore suggesting a plethora of Sea Masters frolicking with our Sea Maidens; those jealous Captain Constance Daphne’s new interest in the diving bell and the detailed accounts of the Sea Master’s physique. Consequently, the crew is doubly slighted and in no mood to brook quarter should be the Sea Master reappear, some going so far as to randomly discard rope nets and loose cannon balls over the side. We are so near mutiny I go about with my notebook and sketches on my person.
His journal reads: Maiden Inebriatus “Martha” sighted March 30, 1833 Average weight, golden hair, minimum alcohol tolerance.
Magnus Netunus “Neptune”
Hale, strong, defined musculature.
Both sighted in protected harbor of San Carlos at the island of Chiloe.