What Tree Are You?

Self found this Buzzfeed Quiz via Cee Neuner who found it on Jake Kuyser’s blog.

Very interesting, self is an OAK.

According to the quiz, she is an oak because (see below)

  • You are the mighty oak tree! You are a symbol of strength, resilience, and knowledge.

Jake is also an OAK.

Cee is a BIRCH.

Poetry Sunday: Louise Gluck

It is true there is not enough beauty in the world.
It is also true that I am not competent to restore it.
Neither is there candor, and here I may be of some use.

— Louise Gluck

Legazpi’s Flagship, the San Pedro

Of course the San Lucas made it to Navidad, in Nueva España, or we wouldn’t be reading a book about it today.

The second ship from the Legazpi expedition to make it back to Navidad was the commander’s flagship, the San Pedro. Legazpi himself had stayed behind in the Philippines. The San Pedro’s captain on the return voyage was Legazpi’s 18-year-old grandson, Felipe de Salcedo (Legazpi had another grandson, also a teenager, Juan de Salcedo, who remained behind in the Philippines. This boy ranged all over the Philippine archipelago, even leading a “starving” Spanish company of 40 into the mountain provinces. The boy was forced back by the Igorots).

Self cannot imagine an 18-year-old commanding a ship all the way across the Pacific! But command it he did, and it made its way back to Nueva España. He was lucky his pilot was Andres de Urdaneta, 57, probably the most renowned navigator of his day.

Stay tuned.

The Vuelta of the San Lucas

The voyage of the San Lucas is turning out to be epic in so many ways. Not only was this 40-ton vessel (with a skeleton crew of 20) a mere dispatch vessel, not built for trans-oceanic crossings, but the crew were navigating at the very edge of their maps, which reached only as far as 43 degrees of northern latitude. The pilot, Lope Martin, steered straight north. Soon, the San Lucas encountered the frigid waters of the Bering Sea. They had left most of their clothing back in the Philippines, so the men were freezing. (Not sure if they knew of the existence of the Bering Strait, which would have brought them to the Atlantic. Probably not, because at 43 degrees latitude north, they struck out across the Pacific, hoping to find a current to bring them home)

Trigger Warning: Rats! Literal Rats!

The most dangerous enemy was not the wind or the sea but the rats. After two months at sea, the large rodent population became thirsty, aggressive, and ready to do anything. “We had to chase after them with sticks,” Don Alonso recalled, “because so many had been breeding abroad.” During the string of storms, the rats must have been able to drink rainwater. After the weather cleared, however, the only available water aboard the San Lucas was sealed in the eight casks, “and in desperation they turned to gnawing on the barrels.” The thirsty creatures perforated two barrels in as many hours, spilling their contents. Disaster had struck. There were only three casks of water left, “and they were not full but missing four or five arrobas.” In other words, by then the San Lucas was carrying a maximum of 294 gallons of water — less than fifteen gallons per person. Such an amount would be appropriate for an extended camping trip but surely not for crossing the largest ocean in the world. To defend what little water they still had, the expeditionaries kept a four-man guard by the casks below decks day and night, “and this gave us so much work, that it could not have been any worse.” The guardsmen lit fires to keep the rodents at bay, especially at night, a necessary but extremely dangerous precaution that threatened to burn down the entire ship. Yet the rodents kept attacking, “and we killed between twenty and thirty every night.”

Conquering the Pacific, p. 155

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