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Wind billowed the square
sails of the galleon Red Jasper as it sailed across the placid sea. The
moon’s reflection undulated with the water as the three-masted ship passed
across the watery wilderness. Stars covered the night sky like an array of
diamonds on black velvet.
The ship had been at sea for
five days after leaving the port town of Blanco Risco. Pablo Campo-verde, the
captain of the ship, had told his passengers that an island was about a two
days voyage from Blanco Risco. He planned to stop at that island before
continuing the voyage across the ocean to the mysterious country of Viviente
Muerte. That country was the last stop before eight pilgrim knights--Pablo’s
passengers--would reach the gate of the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Land ho!” a lookout said
from the crow’s nest on the mainmast (i.e. the tallest mast).
[Crow’s nest: This
was a platform with a wooden railing on which the lookout, a sailor, had a good
view of what lay ahead. The crow’s nest was often located partway up the
A sailor on the half deck (or stern deck) cried up to the
lookout, “Henrico, where do you see land?”
[Note: The half deck was at the rear (or stern) of the
ship. It rose above the upper gun deck and provided a decent view. The half
deck was the top of the aft castle. The aft
castle was a raised portion of the deck in the stern (or rear) of an
old sailing ship. The forecastle is
located near the bow.]
When the lookout had given
him the directions, the man on the half deck turned toward the south east and
drew out a spyglass (i.e. hand-held
he could see land. An island rose up from the ocean, resembling a grey rock
covered with dark-green vegetation. A mountain rose high above the
jungle-cloaked land mass. It appeared to be about three leagues away. [Note: One league
is about 3 miles in distance.]