Confusion and mayhem, the handmaidens of Sir Edmund Roberts, make an appearance high in the Andes mountains of Gran Columbia. As usual, it was left to Sir Edmund Roberts to recover; which he did. Key to his success was the remarkable beauty of the golden maiden he had brought up from the cold depths of Lake Guantavita. Remarkable beauty and her haunting resemblance first to Captain Constance Daphne Fitzwillie; for she shared her glorious figure, this inspiring the remaining crew. But most impressively, she had facial features uncomfortably and closely related to one of the Indian guides who had returned to the naturalist’s camp after Nasty Natalie (Naughty Natalie?) the pirates and the bulk of the crew had departed with the lake’s golden treasure. To a man the Columbians fell to their knees when they saw her.
After lengthy but halting translation came to be known she was El Maideno Revierdo, the revered maiden, the last sacrifice of the doomed Inca civilization before they succumbed to the treachery and avarice of the Spaniards. She was the most beautiful in the land, the daughter of the greatest chief and every bit as sacred to the survivors of the proud race as the sun god himself.
And where less than 50 Indians helped the Bacis into the lofty mountains originally, now hundreds flocked to view their lost princess. With great and wise fanfare Sir Edmund Roberts liberated her ancient remains from the gilt sarcophagus after which reverent celebration gave way to gratitude for her recovery. Sir Edmund, Constance Daphne, Gnarly Dan and the few Bacis left were fairly spirited by the throng from the high mountains to the coast once more.
All were astonished at the rapidity of their return to the sea until they deduced their original ascent had been circuitous in the extreme; the guides leading the explorers in cruel circles, traversed the highest and most dangerous peaks. But now, steeped in gratitude they took the old Inca highway through the passes and valleys, returning to the ship well in advance of the pirates and the treasure; early enough to prepare a surprise!
But a battle was not to be, for it was only the lost Bacis, depressed, defeated and hang dog, who finally stumbled out of the jungle. They had attempted an attack on the pirates but were soundly drubbed, unable to retake the treasure and lucky to keep their own skins intact. All they brought was the sad news that the pirates had turned inland and due west, bent on a rendezvous at the Orinoco river.
And so, reunited, the Bacis set sail once more, finally and truly intent on carrying Sir Edmund to the Galapagos Islands. Becalmed en passage, they rousted the diving bell and Sir Edmund sighted his 27th Sea Maiden.
His journal reads:
“Most awesome sight!” We sighted a profoundly healthy specimen drifting by the bell, stretching and preening for what seemed like hours. Gnarly Dan noted (who could stop him?) that her excessive and obvious lung capacity allowed her prolonged time sub aquatic. Says he, “Any maid what has a chest like that ain’t in no hurry; anything she wants’ll likely come her way if she be patient.
October 30, 1833
Pacific Ocean, east of Gran Columbia