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The Daily Aubrey-Maturin: The Far Side of the World (Book 10), Chapters 6-7 (pg. 3417-3486)

Your daily dose of off-topic shenanigans.

Fijian Catamaran
A Polynesian catamaran, 1877
Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

CHAPTER 6

The Surprise makes it to the Juan Fernandez Islands off the coast of what is now Chile. No Norfolk here, but plenty of supplies to refit and repair the ship after the trails of the Horn. Some personal drama plays out between a few crewmembers — the gunner, the gunner’s wife, and the master — with the latter two having had a lengthy affair and the former now dispatching them out of hand on the island. Or at least that’s the suspicion; the gunner claims that the other have deserted, though shortly thereafter he takes his own life as well.

After that dark turn, we get back to more lighter fare, with the Surprise re-capturing yet another British whaler that had been taken as a prize by the Norfolk. The defeated captain reveals that the Norfolk was bound for the Marquesas, in the middle of the Pacific.

CHAPTER 7

The Surprise heads north towards the Galapagos, hoping to catch up to the Norfolk. Maturin’s promised time to explore the islands, but that promise is rescinded when some British whalers flag the Surprise down to get rescued — their ship had been ransacked and burned by the Norfolk, who peaced out westward soon after. No time to waste in the chase!

But it’s a looong journey westward along the Equator, and soon it’s just normal sailing routine day after day ... until Aubrey & Maturin go for a night swim and manage get left behind. The following day, they’re rescued by a random Polynesian catamaran crewed by all women who clearly don’t like them very much. On the plus side, they don’t get killed. But they do get marooned on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere. That can’t be good!


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Recommendation

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