((Editor’s Note: Although Henry channeled this logbook installment some days back, we’ve lost the artwork–water color–several times, owing to the splash of the North Sea washing the tint off the medium. Be assured that Bowsprite and I are consulting the best 17th-century telecom specialists still around to assist with technical onshore aquarelle dehydration aka TOAD.))
Half Moon, my equus maritimus, has been riding the North Sea well, galloping happily away from the wharf in Amsterdam. Our course has taken us close enough for brief landfalls at Peterhead in Scotland and Lerwick in the Shetlands. From there we make for the Lofotens, which the high mountains will reveal some distance out at sea. We follow that over the top of Nordkap and east to Cathay. Except for Cathay, these landfalls are nothing new; we were here only 12 moonths ago.
Spirits are high on board; the crew seem as elated as I am to leave our beloveds and our places to seek out and discover. Each landfall conjures up ideas of adventures deferred. How might Peterhead girls sing? What grog can be bought in the Shetlands? What savory fish permeates Lofoten kitchens? I’d love to know, but not now. Nordkap beckons and Cathay awaits with its own girls, grog, and grub. Spirit us there, equus maritimus aka half moon, a name I despise as it associates closely with halfs like half-hearted, half-baked, and a farmer’s term I recently learned from the bawdy Dutch … half-assed.
And if the privacy of the journal allows–I pray you speak to on one of this–a word about contingencies: a map came into my possession one moonless night on the Amsterdam wharfs, a map copied from John Smith. Virginia, he suggests, is but a thin isthmus beyond which lies the great Ocean that laps on the shores of Cathay. If no Northeast Passage opens, then Smith’s map will present an alternative.