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The Daily Aubrey-Maturin: Blue at the Mizzen (Book 20), Chapters 5-7 (pg. 6293-6357)

Your daily dose of off-topic shenanigans

Sailing ships among icebergs in the Arctic Circle. Engraving from The Gallery of Nature and Art by the Rev. Edward Polehampton (London, 1815).
ice ice baby
Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images


The Surprise stops in Freetown, for purely romantic reasons: Maturin wants to propose to Mrs Christine Wood, the widow of the former Governor of Sierra Leone, with whom they became acquainted during their anti-slave-trade mission a few books ago. Maturin and Mrs Wood seem like a good match with lots of common interests, but she rejects his offer — though will reconsider the next offer. Fabrizio Romano may or may not be tweeting about this soon.


It’s time to enter the doldrums, which this time involves hanging out with an American ship, the USS Delaware. It’s peace time now, so it’s all cool, and they shoot the shit and drink and be merry and of course incredibly bored. Eventually the winds return and we’re back underway.

Young Horatio Hanson gets promoted to midshipman after the previous one dies of yellow fever. Hanson’s been a rising star, a wunderkind of sailing if you will, and even won a boxing match against another ship’s chosen champions back in Freetown. The kid’s the real deal, let’s hope nothing tragic befalls him, like an ACL, an Achilles, or a sudden cannon ball.


A brief pitstop in Rio to land Dr Jacob and get him moving across the continent. The Surprise (and Ringle, the tender) go south, run low on supplies, deal with foul weather, people get moody (Aubrey, too, for some reason) — all the usual things of trying to sail around South America through the Magellan Strait. They hit some ice earlier than expected, but are able to skirt much of it thanks to a whaler named Bjorn, whom they meet by chance — such a small place, this vast ocean! — and who knows some super-secret whaler shortcuts. Shiny!





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