“MAN O’ERBOARD!” Some of the crew along with Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Bonner gather on the starboard side, straining to get a better look. Mr. Jenkins pulls out his spyglass trying to locate the survivor, finding him he points in that direction offering his spy glass to Mr. Bonner. The Captain is busy watching the debris with his own. Sure enough there is someone. He’s hanging on to a piece of wreckage with one hand. Getting closer they see he is also holding on to another survivor, trying to keep his head above the waves.
“DROP THE BOAT! GET THOSE MEN OUTTA THERE, NOW! MOVE IT! MOVE IT! shouts Captain Bonner.
Mr. Jenkins verbally whips some of the stouter men to the task, barking and bellowing with even more sailor’s salt given the emergency, prompting an even quicker response than usual. The selected sailors and Poppy along with them, already cold and wet brace themselves as the boat is prepared for launch and lowered into the still ragged sea. It’s a task in itself just negotiating the wet and slippery ropes down the side and getting to the bobbing pitching dingy. With unerring aim, one by one, each man drops from the rope into the boat, each spotting the next. Poppy the last man, presses off the ship’s hull and leaps from the rope’s end to his intended target, landing and rolling into his fellow crewmen with a muffled thud. The other four grab him, lest he too becomes one of the floating survivors.
Mr. Bonner keeps a watchful eye on his men from atop the quarter deck as they fight and battle the wind and five to ten foot seas. Mr. Jenkins keeping a keen eye on them as well barks orders guiding them as they bob in and out of sight in the rolling sea on the way to their quarry. Holding the rudder of the little boat Poppy steers them as best he can while the four crewmen row hard forcing them closer to the flotsam and their objective. Even with the wind at their stern and their best efforts it still takes the five hardy sailors the better part of twenty minutes to get close enough to see them through the passing fog and pitching waves. Closing in they see the poor man clinging tightly to the debris, Poppy calls out to him.
“HANG ON THERE MATE WE BE ALMOST THERE!” he yells, spotting them as they top a wave then losing sight of them behind another.
“PLEASE… HURRY, DON’T… M MUCH… L-LON-GER…” cries the man, spitting and sputtering in broken english between the mouthfuls of sea water he’s forced to swallow as the waves wash over him and his fellow survivor.
You can pick up the first W.M. Montague novel today from Amazon. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to sail with Mr Bonner, and his motley crew. Get your copy here.