National Geographic : 1933 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE ©A. J . Villiers THE LIFEBOAT SERVES AS A TENDER In Falmouth Bay, England, at the end of the voyage, the boat is going in with Captain de Cloux to ask orders about where to dis charge the Parma's grain cargo. The ship carried two such life boats, always kept fully equipped and provisioned, but they would not have been of much use if she had been overwhelmed in a Cape Horn storm. The smaller boats would have little chance to survive in a storm that would defeat the sturdy ship. This is the lifeboat with which the Parma's crew went on a 15-mile visit in mid-ocean to the Pamir (see text, page 34). We pulled through large, circular patches of sargasso weed, in which fat crabs and Portuguese men-o'-war drifted lazily. Frightened flying fish scurried wide-eyed before us and the astonished birds flew around. In the twilight of the tropic evening we arrived aboard the other vessel. She was the Pamir, right enough, lying there with her mainyards backed to take from her whatever way she might have had-very little - while we pulled alongside and climbed aboard. Within a few seconds, although no one in either ship had ever met anyone in the other, the two crews were yarn ing excitedly together like the oldest of old friends at reunion. We had rowed so far that they were astonished to see us and at first thought there might be some special reason for our trip. SAILING A SMALL BOAT BY THE STARS We found that the Pamir had been in the same storms, and had suf fered heavy deck damage and had badly injured one of her boys. She had gone south of Tasmania instead of through Bass Strait, and was four days ahead of us at Cape Horn. We had done very well, then, to sail up on her again in the Atlantic. We had the evening meal aboard, gathered the Pamir men's news, gave them our news, and left again under the light of the moon, to pull back to our own ship, now quite lost to sight. The calm persisted. We had 15 miles and more to go and were not sure exactly where our ship was; but there was no danger. We were expected. It would be moonlight until I in the morning. The 15-mile row back to our ship passed uneventfully, with the boys pulling steadily and all of us keeping good watch on the horizon ahead for sign of lights. We laid a course by the stars, knowing how our ship had been lying under them on so many, many nights. We laid our course and kept it, and after two hours and more burned a flare to see if we were right. We were! An answering flare came from ahead.