Sir Edmund Roberts’ quest for Sea Maidens headed inland. Halley’s patented diving apparatus was distributed across a handful of taciturn llamas, as was the captain’s and crew’s gear, articles for trading, and an assortment of weapons. The HMS Baci’s old swivel guns were added to the mix, Woody the ship’s carpenter having fashioned several cunning little carriages to accept the four foot cannons now stowed aboard several of the mules also making the journey into the Andes.
Captain Constance Daphne was stunningly attired, as was Naughty (Nasty?) Natalie. Each upping the stakes for the crew’s attention, the captain’s approach more buxom than the pirate vixen’s, the latter being rather more wanton than uplifting.
The procession was a humorous sight from the beginning as it meandered into the foothills, the Bacis without their land legs wobbling beside the pack animals. Sir Edmund strode ahead, he rather miffed that a succession of llamas had demonstrated their penchant for spitting in the eye of the beholder, naturalist or not.
Days of walking turned to weeks as they hiked ever higher into the mountains, the adventurers entertaining themselves with wild speculation regarding the Inca treasures in Lake Guatavita. The locals were sullen at best, it being apparent they were in the company of their most recent pillagers.
The glory of the volcanic lake opened to the Bacis on September 2nd, whereupon Sir Edmund’s diving bell was hastily assembled and descents into the icy waters began. Gnarly Dan, embarrassed with his ignorance of freshwater Sea Maidens, culled what he could from the guides and laborers. At last he was able to expound with easy authority, “Unlike yer normal Sea Maidens and Masters, these here’d be more forward in nature. Yer Sea Maiden rules; is rough-like in disposition, spendin’ ‘is leisure playin’ in the gold, romancin’ Sea Maidens’, and tusslin’ with other Sea Masters. We should be on double watch when we’s below; some Sea Master what feels ‘is hawser’s been crossed could swim ‘neath yer bell, grab an ankle an’ yank a gob inna the drink; if ya could catch me meaning.”
So they were cautious and within the week spied a brace of sea creatures communing. Sir Edmund, the captain and Gnarly Dan were in the diving bell. “Any gob can see he’s at the helm,” Gnarly Dan instructed, “An’ she ain’t close ta mutiny.”
Sir Edmund’s Journal reads:
“Xenia” – Maidenous Enraptous
“Inca” – Magnus Enraptous
Sighted – September 5, 1833
Lake Guatavita, Andes Mountains, Gran Columbia
Handsome couple. Strong physiques. Healthy. Preoccupied.