The Wine-dark Sea by Patrick O'Brian
This book of the Aubrey/Maturin Series by Patrick O'Brian starts out in the Pacific Ocean. It is a purple ocean, vast and empty as we embark on
The Wine-Dark Sea .
The Surprise, Jack Aubrey's ship - a twenty-eight gun frigate, antiquated but much loved by her crew and captain for her speed and taut lines, and her fighting capabilities. The Surprise was nominally a privateer, but was secretly acting under Government orders under the instruction of the surgeon and intelligence agent Stephen Maturin. Sailing in convoy was the ship, the Franklin, a captured American Privateer of twenty-two guns, being nine-pounders. The story of how the Franklin was captured was told in the last book of the series,
Clarissa Oakes .
At their present position in The Wine-Dark Sea they were heading south down towards the equator and eastwards toward Peru, and making about two hundred miles daily. Chapter three sees them at 12 degrees 35' North, 152 d 17' West. That puts them hundreds of miles south-east of the Hawaiian Islands. The Surprise eventually make it to Callao, a port in Peru which is at 12d 2.5'South, 77d 8'W. Callao is a very busy shipping port and there are ships from Chile, Mexico, and at least two ships going to China. Tom Pullings later on makes it to San Lorenzo island and walks across the island to check out the sea. He spies the Franklin out at sea coming in with a prize.
Meanwhile in the Wine-Dark Sea, Stephen Maturin was on land doing his political skullduggeries and finds himself walking over the Andes Mountains towards Chile. Jack Aubrey has gotten word to pick Stephen at Valparaiso in Chile. The Surprise has the headland of Punta Angeles, the western tip of the Bay of Valparaison on her larboard bow. The mountain peak of Aconcagua in the Cordilleras is directly to the north-east. At noon, when Jack Aubrey and Tom Pullings are shooting the altitude of the sun, they make their position to be thirty-three degrees South. They spot Stephen Maturin floundering along in a balsa craft and pick him up. After they pick up the doctor they head for Diego Ramirez islands. The Diego Ramírez Islands( 56d 30'South, 68d 43'West) are a small group of islands in the Drake Passage, located about 100 kilometers south-west of Cape Horn and 93 kilometers South-South-West of Ildefonso Islands, stretching 8 kilometers north and south.
They sail into the high fifties into freezing snow and roaring westerly storms. They have to batten down the hatches and cope with frozen rigging and sails that are as stiff as a board. This weather has them flying east at the end of the Wine-Dark Sea and we will have to read the next book,
to find out what happens.
Patrick O'Brian's Navy: The Illustrated Companion to Jack Aubrey's World -
this introduction to Napoleonic naval warfare focuses on Patrick O'Brian's splendid Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin series, which it presents as a major work of English literature. In fact, parts of this book (including the material on Lord Cochrane, the original model for Jack Aubrey's character) will be more useful to O'Brian's fans than to the lay reader.
The World of Jack Aubrey: Twelve-Pounders, Frigates, Cutlasses, and Insignia of His Majesty's Royal Navy by David Miller -
a beautifully illustrated guide to the ships, weapons, uniforms, and equipment described in Patrick O'Brian's sequence of 20 popular novels about the 19th century British Royal Navy officer Jack Aubrey and his surgeon colleague Stephen Maturin.
Fortune Of War
Far Side of World
Reverse of Medal
Letter of Marque
13 Gun Salute
Nutmeg of Consolation