I thought I’d spotted a treasure chest resting on the ocean floor beneath the Good Ship Literacy. I took a deep breath and plunged into the clear water. I’d determined that the suspected treasure chest was nothing but a shapely piece of coral. I was about to return to the surface, when I looked up and, to my consternation, spotted a man-o-war sized stingray cruising toward me.
I expected the worst but was delighted when the gorgeous creature slowed to an idle state and spoke to me. I was so surprised that a stingray could talk that I had to ask her to repeat what she had said. She rolled her eyes, came closer and whispered, “Follow me… there’s a sunken ship near by.”
I brought my courage into line and followed the graceful ray. Sure enough, not more than 50 stokes away there was a sunken sloop resting on a ridge. Inside, sealed in waterproof barrels, were dozens of leather bound books written by the ancient masters. It was indeed a great find.
I thanked the ray, who grinned, blew a stream of bubbles, then gracefully flapped away. By then I was almost out of air. I quickly surfaced, caught my breath and directed a pirate crew to retrieve the sunken treasure.
We’ll sail to the nearest port and find receptive young ones and give the books away. Glad I didn’t run into Davy Jones.
If ye’ve paid any kind of attention at all to Captain Book ye’ve heard him say, “By readin’ books, you can go anywhere you want to go and be anything you want to be.”
Ye can imagine me consternation at first, then, delight when a fortnight ago I found myself in the midst o’ a crew o’ celebrants. The largest alien hefted me to his eye level and smiled. I took that as a sign that I was welcome among them and that they would carry on with their merrymaking. Sure enough they did, I’m tellin’ ye, after that adventure it took me a fortnight to get me head back to the golden age of piracy.
“Gulliver’s Travels” helped me return to a time when I would likely have spotted a red sail in the sunset or a tall galley sittin’ as idle as a painted ship on a painted sea.
Aye mates life’s an adventure.
The sturdy ship Surprise sat peacefully in a charming port in the Americas. She was moored next to a government building. It was an incongruous sight to see her there, since from her flag staff she was flying the red flag meaning the vicious pirate ship would give no quarter to merchant ships in her sights who resisted capture. Surely the pirate captain knew that Royal authorities would see the dreaded sign and seize the outlaw. I have to tell ye leavin’ that dreaded sign flyin’ was a major oversight of the ship’s quartermaster and boatswain, not to mention the Captain himself.
To satiate me curiosity I boarded the vessel via the aft lanyard to investigate. Other than a few barrels o’ hardtack, sacks o’ grain, a store o’ cannon balls and gun powder she was deserted. I later learned that, sure enough, the authorities had spotted the ship’s red flag and after a brief battle at sea captured her and brought her into port. Now, the unruly crew sits in the local prison awaiting transport to Port Royal were they will surely be tried and hanged.
Me crew and I offered to furnish them with books to make their stay in prison productive. The local magistrate asked why we would bother. I told him that with pirates you never know and if they should escape doing some powerful reading might set them on a different path. “Aye!” says he, “reading is wholesome and can be redemptive. Bring on your plunder.” Aye, we did and have hopes that books will do their magic.
Aye, ’tis a fair hike from the Haliakala’s rim to the crater floor. Jolly and I made it to a mound o’ lava where we paused to rest. We’d not yet found booty of any sort, other than colorful, jazzed residue of ancient eruptions.
We stood for a turn of the hour glass enjoying the surrounding beauty o’ the otherworldly terrain. Ship’s quartermaster, Jan, did us service by sketching the two o’ us standin’ in the crater.
I gave Jolly a hand full o’ sunflower seeds to satiate her hunger, while I nibbled on fruit I’d plucked from a giving Guava tree near the island’s bountiful shore. For a good while the burdens that ordinarily weigh on a pirate ship’s captain seemed remote… etherial.
Me crew and meself rode mules from our anchorage to Lahaina Harbor. We were surprised at the sight of a fine four master sittin’ not far from shore. It was a proud Chilean pirate vessel… all shine and polish. She’d struck her skull and cross bone flag to avoid giving fright to those rowin’ about in pinnaces or lingering on shore. Her sails were furled snug in their boots. The lanyards and halyards were neatly trimmed. It delighted me ears to learn that this ship was also a ship, Named Many Volumes, was loaded with books. Even so there aren’t words to describe my delight when her commander, Captain Chapters, invited me aboard to take command of the learned ship. Quartermaster, Jan, sketched me visage standin’ on the ship’s bowsprit, pointin’ your direction, proud as a pheasant.
Mates, while anchored in Lahainasport, Maui, I persuaded the ship’s quartermaster, Jan, to lug her drawing and painting paraphernalia up the side of that formidable volcano, Haliakala and sketch meself standin’ by a colorful marker we discovered just below the mountain’s timberline. A half a league from the spot we came across Hosmer’s Grove a stand o’ trees the enterprising man planted to provide timber for the island’s needs. The experiment was a failure… but the remnants provide interesting walking trails and bird watching.
Aye, the path on which ye see Captain Book standin’ snakes through a damp patch o’ jungle huggin’ the coast not far from Kapalua where a den o’ pirates hang out. The Good Ship Literacy rode at anchor in Honolua Bay, while two crew members accompanied me to scout for sources o’ fresh water. We avoided the dastardly tars by treadin’ lightly and holdn’ our tongues. We’d only hiked a short distance when it began to rain… problem solved. I sent for the kegs and shortly the ship was once again stocked with fresh water. Tonight we will use the dark to sneak past the rowdy marauders wastin’ away at the pirate camp. O’ course, we will all find a good book to read by candle light ’till sleepin’ hour arrived.
Captain Book will go anywhere in search of treasure. Aye, this very day as the sun reached its apex and headed toward the western horizon, he ventured into the dry bush on the southern shore of Maui. In the captain’s absence, the rest of the crew leaped at the opportunity to enjoy a few hours ‘o baskin’ in the warm sun on the coarse sands of Makena Beach. In the magic lantern ye see before ye, Captain Book and his faithful parrot Jolly, pause to wave a greeting to ye before trudging on in search of unexpected plunder not five giant strides beyond a snarly tree or buried in a remote cave etched by molten lava as it headed to the ocean some 200 years ago. Aye and he found a fine sounding conch shell just right for announcing chow time at the end of a long day’s sailin’ aboard the Good Ship Literacy.
The Good Ship Literacy rested at anchor just off Maui’s north shore near Napili Bay. I was standin’ near the bow sprit and happened to look down into the invitin’ aqua waters lappin’ the lava rock. Me eye caught a breathtakin’ glimpse of one o’ me favorite critters comin’ up for air. The sight reminded me o’ the Island of Tortuga where treasure o’ every description be invitin’ book pirate’s plunderin’. The sight o’ this handsome fellow warmed me heart.
Captain surfing in Maui.
Aye, ye’ll agree Captain Book deserves a respite from tedious labors. Ye be right! Ergo, ye’ll not be surprised to see him showin’ his skills on a surf board off Honolua Bay on the north shore of Maui. Keepin’ a weather eye out, ye’ll likely see him people watching in the shade o’ the Lahaina banyan tree or lying in on the warm sands o’ Flemming Beach sands reading a book. O’ course, he’ll be eatin’ Mahi Mahi on the ship’s lanai and slumbering to the sounds of the swaying palms trees in the whispering trade winds.