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The Daily Aubrey-Maturin: The Surgeon’s Mate (Book 7), Chapters 8-9 (pg. 2405-2490)

Your daily dose of off-topic shenanigans

John Harrison with his marine chronometer, c 1767.
John Harrison with his marine chronometer, c 1767
Photo by SSPL/Getty Images


Laden with supplies after stopping at Gothenburg, the Ariel sets sail for Grimsholm. Along the way, Aubrey can’t quite resist trying to chase a prize, but they prove too fast even for the Ariel.

But then they spot another, which turns out to be the Minnie, a Danish ship bound for the fortress, delivering French officers. A chase ensues and the Minnie runs aground in some shoals. The French officers try to flee, they got blown to bits. Aubrey & Co successfully free the ship and as per Maturin’s suggestion, they use it as part of a ruse to get into Grimsholm: they stage a chase between the Ariel and the Minnie, presuming that it would allow the latter to pass without the proper passcodes (since obviously it’s being fired upon by the enemy).

The ruse works and Maturin is able request an audience directly with the commander of the fort, who turns out to be his godfather from Catalonia (well, he knew that already). Small world! Maturin convinces the don to switch sides, and thus the fortress is captured without any bloodshed.


Aubrey & Co return to Gothenburg as heroes, but the celebrations are cut short as Maturin’s sent on another covert mission, this one to Spain. The Ariel is to be part of convoy for some of the journey, for protection against enemy ships and as cover for the mission, but the convoy gets separated in a storm. And then somebody breaks the chronometer onboard (and they only brought one because reasons), which now means that they cannot tell their exact longitude.

The Ariel runs into a couple French ships just out of The Channel. Outgunned, they make a run for it, ending up trapped in Dourarnenez Bay, first by the sea, then by running aground...





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