The Daily Aubrey-Maturin: The Far Side of the World (Book 10), Chapters 4-5 (pg. 3332-3416)


Aubrey’s initial plan was to make a pitstop at Cabo Verde, but he decides to push for South America. They almost run out of water in the doldrums, but are able to reach Cape São Roque, which is the closest point on the South American continent to Africa. The locals claim that the Norfolk has not yet passed, so all the Surprise has to do is lie in wait and … surprise! … the enemy.

Instead, the Surprise is the one that gets the surprise: in the form of a massive lightning storm, which damages the ship and destroys their bowsprit.

The bowsprit
Photo by Pat Carroll/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images


Unable to repair the ship in situ, Aubrey limps south to Penedo, and a fresh-water channel where the Surprise can be repaired by some friendly locals. And wouldn’t you know it, the Norfolk happens to sail past just then. The Surprise‘s repairs are completed successfully in a huge hurry, but as they attempt to leave the channel, they run aground and have to wait two weeks for the next spring tide. Only the 2000mi head start for the Norfolk then, further increased by unfavorable winds for the Surprise.

They saw a ship called the Danaëwhich is supposed to be British but soon turns out to have been captured and taken as a prize by the Norfolk. Aubrey recaptures the ship and Maturin looks for some hidden intelligence onboard (of which he was notified in a coded letter some time ago). Fortunately, while the Norfolk took the treasure off the ship, they did not know about the intelligence, which pinpoints their next movements. The Surprise may now be 16 days behind, but they know exactly where to go.

But first, they have to round the Horn and that proves to be a rather tough and dangerous task, with at least one man overboard, but eventually they do get into the Pacific…





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