Crash! Tear! Rend! Rip! Thwack! all sounds of terror added to wind and thunder in the darkness before dawn! Horrors for any mariner until reason intervenes and fights back. So it was when the foremast splintered and crashed into the sea last night, leaving the foredeck a confused jungle of rigging. Any crew tangled in this web would have found himself dragged to his peril as waves pulled the debris away from the ship, mostly away. Crew took up knives and axes and quickly severed the fibers, keeping the colluding wind and water from capsizing our ship. . . .
No one was injured although Cathay, the ship’s cat, was saved only by pouncing back onto the deck as her favorite spar was about to plunge into the wild seas. Lucky Cathay. Her previous near-communication-with-the-sea came at Nord Kap, where she leapt from the foremast to the forehouse, not realizing it was sheer ice, and nearly slid into the chilling seas.
As the crew labors to fashion a temporary foremast, I realize that for the first time in weeks the crew have put aside their feuds, their divisions; they ceased cursing each other in their different languages. With united purpose, we can juryrig a foremast that’ll get us to the forests described by Champlain and Smith, where we’ll fashion a new mast, new spars. By my calculations and give or take a few hundred leagues, we are at latitude 48 north and now closer to North America than to Nord Kap where we turned. With this new unity of mission, we will soon reach the rocky pine coast, make repairs, and begin the next leg of our journey to Cathay.