So now I have a ship, and I’ve started working with VOC to hire a crew. Yope, as usual, has been an enormous help, sending letters across the Channel up to Van Meteren in London, and we’ve started getting English sailors applying to sail. Robert Juet from last year’s trip has responded already, for example. A good sailor/mate he, but I’ve never gotten along famously with him.
Then there’ve been the Dutch who applied, and one of those named Bram brought with him his Javanese assistant Pernomo.
But Pernomo seems wretched in the cold of Amsterdam putting on sarong after sarong and many turbans to seek warmth. How would he get on if we sailed over the Nordkap looking past the icebergs for the Northeast Passage, I wondered. And I’ve hit on hiring requirement: I’ll list ice skating as an essential skill. We are, after all, sailing north to a place where ice and snow might bar our passage, so if Pernomo can learn to iceskate, then surely I can hire him. And now that I think further on this, Bram mentioned that from sailing the Eastern ports and transacting on those faraway docks, Pernomo can speak many languages of the East, including some words from Cathay!
Pernomo may be a valuable crewman even if he can’t skate well, for he can interpret once we arrive later this year in Cathay!
*Art modified above was by Bart van Hove (1856-1914).