Josiah Swanson

Lost on a Tropic Isle Illustration


        I, Nathan Davies, captain of the "Seatrial", in the year 1794, will now tell about the exciting voyages my mates and I have gone on.

        I would assume that the most logical method to explain these adventures is by starting from the beginning.

        Upon completing my apprenticeship in London, I joined together with a few of my fellows and agreed with them to go on our first sailing adventure!

        Tom, Billy, and Stephan were my trusty mates, coming on almost every voyage I have ever undertaken.  Tom was my first mate-a whimsical character, full of spontaneity and enthusiasm.  Billy was a bit older than the rest of the crew; he was known for his wisdom and his joking spirit.  Stephan was the most academic of the group; although he was hesitant to come along with us on our first voyage, he proved to be a great companion and a helpful hand over time.

        As we prepared for our undertaking, our spirits were full of eagerness and hope.

        After leaving our home in Silver Coast, we set sail for the South-West.  It was only one week into the voyage that the Seatrial's foremast cracked and prevented us from continuing the voyage!  We lodged at an island off the coast of Bristol Channel while repairing our ship.  My crew and I went on an excursion to the island's town, but upon returning, we found that someone had stolen some of our most valuable instruments and maps from the Seatrial!  We sought the thief with no success.  Infuriated, we were forced to repurchase all of our stolen equipment before leaving again.

        After resuming our voyage, we had a pleasant time.  We went fishing almost everyday and occasionally visited the various isles in the East Atlantic.  I took note of the extremely diverse species of birds and fishes along the way.

        Once we had been gone from our homeland for one month and a half, we found ourselves headed into a disastrous storm!  It was morning time when the sea became terrifyingly rough.  I took the wheel and did what I could to get the Seatrial back on her course.  While the others were below deck, Tom and I took command through the terrible scene!

        As the morning broke, the swell became so large that a certain wave washed over the ship and took me overboard.  I plunged deep under the waves and swam as hard as I could for the surface.  When I emerged I was already far from my ship!  I called for my crew but no one could hear me.  I was swept far from the ship by the swirling currents of the sea and was already in bad condition.  To my surprise, I sighted land from afar and began swimming towards it.  On my way, I found large tree trunk floating in the water and clung to it as I drifted towards the isle...

        Later that day, I awoke on a bed of white sand.

        Knowing what had happened, I was thankful to make it ashore alive!  I got to my feet.

        Observing my surroundings, I found that the scene was nothing short of alluring.

        Before going overboard, I had assumed the Seatrial was far from any land.  Interestingly, I found myself on an uncharted isle.  As I looked out to the pristine ocean, I determined it was afternoon.  The sand did not stretch far.  On either side of the beach, large obstructions of lava rock stood in the way.  Near where I had awoke, I found a deep cave.

        After my observing, I decided to search for my crew.    Being the captain, I knew it was my duty to ensure the crew's safety.  However, at the time I wasn't sure of my mates' outcome.

        Instead of venturing along the shore, I headed inland, hoping to come out on some other part of the island.

        Before leaving, I checked my stock; I had a compass, a hat, and long knife with me.

        I walked through the thick rainforest rather slowly; I had lost my shoes after going overboard and my bare feet became sore from walking.  Luckily, my hunting knife helped me through the rampant vines and branches.  Looking at my compass, I followed a course to the north.

        It was not long before I emerged from the thick of the forest.  I could see the ocean ahead.  I moved a little quicker towards the water and at once, found myself on a dirt path!  Clearly, I wasn't the first to be on the isle.

        I followed the path until I came to the edge of a cliff.  Standing on its highpoint, I was surprised to see the Seatrial coming from a distance!

        I was overwhelmed to see that my ship was still in tact and that my crew was headed my way!

        I continued to look around.  Jutting from the crystal ocean was a small mountain of volcanic rock.   I noticed as well, a tremendous pile of firewood placed in a pyramidal shape on the shore below.  To the west was a coast, consisting of large grey stones.  To the east was a red river, feeding into the ocean, and another stony shore.

        On the cliff, to my side, the path led by a small band of huts!  Although desolate at the time, the shelters appeared to be where a native people lived.  I began to cautiously walk in the direction of the small village, finding that the only way to the beach was by the path.

        I was even closer to the village when I sighted some spears and other weaponry lying about a fire-pit; I feared that the residents were dangerous.

        The sun was approaching the horizon so I knew I had little time to get to my crew before dark.  (I knew that my mates could have easily considered me dead, and that my only hope of leaving the island was to get back to my ship before they left!)  I had been carefully watching the Seatrial as it came closer to the isle.  I was glad that I had brought Tom with me on the voyage!  Being my first mate, Tom was the only one of my men who had the knowledge to sail the ship, (although the others would argue they could handle the immense task of sailing such a brig)!

        I continued walking along the path as it proceeded down the side of the cliff.  I was to pass by the huts and hurry back to the Seatrial.

        I tried to remain quiet, knowing that I might not have been alone.  The path took me between two of the largest shelters, each formed by a distinctive layering of palm branches and long sticks.

        I was just passing by the last few shelters when suddenly, a rope snatched my legs and swiftly took me upwards!  I found myself dangling from a snare, tied to a tree; I had walked into a trap!

        As I was hanging upside-down, I was grieved to see that my knife had fallen to the ground!  I was rather uncomfortable and desperate to get out of my situation.

        I knew that if I could grasp of the rope which held me, I could climb it to get into the tree!  I attempted this by merely reaching upwards towards the rope.  Trying with all my strength, I could not reach the cord.

        As I took a short break, I sighted a group of people approaching from the river!  I knew I was in danger.  By swinging myself forward, I grasped the rope!

        In the end, I came up onto the tree branch.  I glanced towards the ocean; the sun had just set.  I hastily worked on the tight knot which bound my legs together.  After a few minutes, I finally freed myself from the devious trap!

        By the time I had got down from the tree, it was dark.  I gladly grabbed my knife from the ground and found a place to hide.  Resting behind a bush, I observed that the Seatrial had finally made its way to shore!  Its brass lantern emitted a bright light over the water.  I had never been so happy to see my ship.

        I looked over the edge of the cliff and spying towards the shore, I saw that the large stack of wood was violently ablaze!  I also saw, beside the fire, the group of villagers with weapons in hand!  I perceived that the people had sighted the Seatrial and were preparing to attack!

        I silently made my way down the side of the cliff.  The path led me down to the shore.   As I set my feet into the cold sand, I looked ahead.  There were a few hundred yards of the shore before me.  I could see the movements of figures upon the sand.  Here and there, I noticed the glimmer of torches being carried across the beach.  From where I was, I saw the Seatrial in its majesty, waiting for me in the water.

        In the dark of night, I heard voices coming from the shadows speaking in a foreign tongue.  I had a short time to hurry across the shore and get to my ship.

        With my knife in hand, I began to run across the stretch of the shore.  I was almost to the ocean when I fell onto the sand, (I was very weak and tired).  I slowly brought myself back to my feet.  As I began to dash once more, I noticed that the natives had caught sight of me!

        I came to the water's edge and waded across the shallows towards the Seatrial.  I turned back to find the dark figures close behind!  The water level began to drop and I began swimming.  I barely had the strength to go any longer!  I dropped my knife in order to swim fast enough.

        I came to the Seatrial as quickly as I could.  Seeing my mates onboard waving their hands in joy, I grinned.

        "Prepare for departure!" I yelled from the water.

        Tom helped me up the stern of the ship.  Looking back, I saw the burly natives coming out on canoes, carrying torches with them!

        Tom jested, "I see you've brought some company!"

        "It seems I have, Tom.  We've got to hurry, though!  They don't seem too friendly!" I stated, overjoyed to be back with my crew and their lighthearted spirits.

        Tom looked towards the armed natives and then yelled, "Men to their positions!"

        I hurriedly greeted Billy and Stephan as we set sail, (My mates were very surprised to see me again).

        As we began to get away, the natives' canoes came dreadfully close!  I barely ducked beneath a spear as it flew right past me!  We began gaining speed and finally outdid the canoes.

        "Until next time!" yelled Billy from his mast, grinning towards the blasted isle.

        Before going below deck for a good night's rest, I marked off on my map the location of the isle.  Our voyage was over; I set our course for home.

        That night, the storms of the sea left us alone…


Read the Sequel,
The Mystery of Mr Goodwyn