Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge (CMMC): Pale, Any Color

Big thank you to Cee Neuner for hosting Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge.

Self decided to see whether she could find anything pale-colored inside the house. It’s a hot day, and colors in her yard are washed out. But inside the house is another story. Here is a gallery of pale-colored things.

  • A shell from the Philippines. Whenever self goes home to the Philippines, she brings home a beach find. She doesn’t remember which particular beach she found this shell in, there are so many.
  • A block of cheese, hard as a rock. She’s going to grate it and have with noodles.
  • The Western Humanities Review Fall 2019 cover is by the artist Thomas Mawson and can be found in the Canadian Architectural Archives. The theme of this issue: Spectral Cities.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge (CFFC): Garden Ornaments

Cee Neuner: This week our topic is celebrating Metal of any type.

Since it is such a beautiful day, more like summer, self went around her backyard, taking pictures of metal garden ornaments. Without further ado:

Her newest garden ornament: Tibetan wind chimes, purchased last summer from Growing Grounds in downtown San Luis Obispo, right across from the San Luis Obispo mission.

Her oldest: the pig watering can, which has seen better days.

In her hanging planter, a bird built a nest.

The metal crocodile on the wall of the shed reminds her of Bacolod, Dear Departed Dad’s hometown. Her grandfather opened the first zoo in the Visayas, and one of the zoo animals was a crocodile that lived to a very great age. When it finally died, her cousins had it stuffed. Don’t know which cousin kept the stuffed crocodile. She should find out.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#stillreading Conquering the Pacific

It continues suspenseful, with another journey to the Philippines, Lope Martin (veteran of the San Lucas) piloting a new ship, the San Jeronimo. Unfortunately, there is much intrigue, etc.

Someone guts the Captain’s horse (reportedly because the horse was drinking too much water and the men feared they wouldn’t have enough for the trans-Pacific crossing). Six days later, a sailor vents to the Captain’s son about the “wretched food and drink.” The Captain’s son pulls out a whip to put the sailor in his place, but the sailor pulls out a dagger, “forcing the young officer to retreat in a great commotion and go down to his quarters to fetch some soldiers.” The sailor is locked up below decks, but two days later is released by his friends, whereupon “he strolled around the deck as if nothing had happened in yet another display of blatant disregard for the captain’s authority.” The end for the Captain and his son comes that very night.

Stay tuned.

Water, Water Everywhere (WWE) Challenge: The Mighty Pacific

Still reading Conquering the Pacific: An Unknown Mariner and the Final Great Voyage of the Age of Discovery, by Andrés Reséndez.

p. 174:

  • On the morning of May 1, the San Jeronimo cleared the capacious bay of Acapulco and entered “the true sea that makes all others appear like rivers and puddles.” — Juan Martinez, soldier, 1 May 1566

For the WWE Challenge, a view of that same ocean, viewed several hundred miles north of Acapulco. Self took this picture last month on the Mendocino Headlands. It was a very cold day. A storm was approaching.

Still cannot get over the fact that leagues and leagues east, on the other side of that ocean, is self’s home country, the Philippines. There is nothing between self and the Philippines except WATER. Imagine crossing that expanse in the 16th century, at the mercy of currents and the vagaries of wind.

Many attempts were made to reach the Philippines after Magellan. Villalobos reached it but left immediately after. Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived in 1565 and stayed to become the Philippines’ first governor (Legazpi was pretty old, for an explorer: he was in his 50s. His nickname was El Adelantado)

Legazpi had his two grandsons with him, both teenagers. One, Felipe de Salcedo, 18, became captain of Legazpi’s flagship, the San Pedro, on the vuelta.

What an incredible feat. Truly. And such courage for an 18-year-old. They almost didn’t make it.

His younger brother, Juan de Salcedo, 17, stayed and made a home for himself in what is now the province of Vigan. His grandfather died a year after arrival in the Philippines, but Juan de Salcedo spent the rest of his life there, even bringing his widowed mother and his sister to the islands! (These Salcedo women must have been made of very stern stuff: the trans-Pacific crossing, in the sixteenth century, was no walk in the park)

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

A Revolt on the San Lucas

When word about re-crossing the Pacific spread through the San Lucas, however, several crew members revolted. The San Lucas was a dispatch boat meant to explore coves and inlets in shallow waters, not a vessel intended for the vuelta. The plan all along had been to attempt the return aboard one of the two largest ships in the fleet, the San Pedro and the San Pablo, weighing four or five hundred tons and built at an outrageous cost for this very purpose.

Conquering the Pacific, p. 145

The Return, Vuelta

Are dear blog readers suffering from whiplash, yet? Self is back to reading Conquering the Pacific.

It is not enough to get to one’s destination, the more important leg is the return.

The San Lucas arrived first in the Philippines; it was also the first to leave, in late April. The commander of the San Lucas is quoted as saying, “I would rather die at sea in the service of His Majesty than among these Filipinos . . . and my determination was to complete the voyage or die in the attempt.”

While Doing the Wash

More unforeseen events occur.

On March 4, 1565, the San Lucas pulled up anchor and continued rounding the immense island of Mindanao . . . at an unspecified site, the voyagers found a good place to wash their clothes. An officer and two cabin boys were dispatched ashore with everyone’s dirty garments. The two servants had just started washing when they spotted several islanders closing in on them and thus had to run for their lives, abandoning a mountain of clothes that the voyagers would miss sorely when the weather turned extremely cold later in their adventure.

Conquering the Pacific, p. 131

The conquistadores have lost their clothes! Self doesn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

Stay tuned.

The Unforeseen

Human nature is incalculable. Four of the twenty crew from the San Lucas (the first ship from the Legazpi expedition to reach the Philippines; they beat the commander by about a month) mutiny, steal a rowboat, several arquebuses, and — this is the real clincher — the only flint stone on the San Lucas, which was used not just for cooking but for lighting fires in general. As the commander later reflected, “without fire the Indians would gain the upper hand over us at any time they wanted.”

It therefore becomes vitally important to track down the four escapees.

“One evening, the men of the San Lucas spotted a campfire in the distance. The four runaways were boldly moving inward toward the closest” native settlement, “willing to take their chances with” a native they had just met.

WHAT? Why would they do that? Escape from their countrymen and hope the natives will help them? What’s in it for the natives? Talk about stupid.

The men giving chase from the ship are able to steal up to the mutineers’ campsite, and the lookout is shot (with “27 pellets” from an arquebus, from about a tree away). All four men are marched back to the ship (including the one who was shot; guess being shot with 27 pellets from an arquebus isn’t so bad!)

When they get to the ship, the commander finds himself in a real pickle: the San Lucas has a skeleton crew of 20. The punishment for mutiny is hanging. If the commander follows the letter of the law and hangs the four, he’ll only have a crew of 16.

Oh my goodness!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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