Jeremy’s blog Part 2
Sun 23 Feb 2020 14:17
I’m waking very early, between 3.30am and sometimes as late as 7am but never later. I usually make a coffee and watch some series – Beck at the moment, everything is coming up Swedish – on the computer or read the kindle. I’m reading an excellent book at the moment. It’s a very in-depth true story of the Dutch VOC ship the Batavia. It’s pretty gruesome stuff and makes Tom Hanks time on his island look like a tropical holiday.
The Batavia was shipwrecked off some tiny coral atolls on the western side of Australia. Later it is regarded as the site of the first building ever built by westerners ‘in Australia’ and also two of the survivors are regarded as the first western people to live on the mainland after they are marooned there. Over the years another two ships, at least. From the Dutch VOC have sailors who end up vanishing into the western coast of Australia and quite a bit of research has gone into what happened to them. Even today there are many stories of light skinned indigenous aboriginals in the area. Anyway these days genes can figure that one out.
Before the ship was wrecked there was already a planned mutiny by the captain and the Under-Merchant. In the VOC ships the Upper-Merchant was in charge as they deemed that profit was paramount and the ship and crew came second. But before the mutiny could happen the captain ran the ship into a coral reef. Eventually the Under-Merchant took control. He was a total lunatic – sociopath – and instigated a killing spree that ended the lives of over 100 people before help arrived. I think it might be the incident that ‘Lord of the Flies’ was based on. Not the kind of stuff to inspire anyone to go sailing for sure, but that incident was in the early 17th century. Different time. In those days the head (toilet) was in the bow and in open view of the line of men waiting. A long rope hung down and was dragged in the sea and that was used by the 300 odd crew and passengers to clean themselves with after number two was achieved. Sailors had one set of cloths and they were washed in urine as water was too valuable. I leant a lot from that book. A lot of stuff that, hopefully, will never be put into use. Something else that (hopefully) will never come in handy was that it’s possible to drink 1 ½ pints of sea-water a day in necessary as that amount reaches the daily, safe, intake of salt per day. So it is actually possible to survive for a while on salt-water. I’ll think about that when we go shopping next and buy our crates of bottled water. Let’s double that amount guys.