My name is Audacia. I love the sea. I have been a sailor since the past ten years. Just a few weeks ago, I received an invitation to join a voyage to the Bermuda Islands. The name of the ship is Bermuda Sails. Yes, it sounds more like a ferry, but it’s a real ship. And quite a good one at that.
I know quite a lot about ships, you see. My father was a sailor as well. My mother was a teacher. I had been thinking I would grow up to be a sailor, but my parents thought otherwise. My father said that the life of a sailor was not fit for a young girl. My mother, who had never been out to sea, believed the same. I was to be a teacher.
But the sea beckoned. I knew I could not possibly be a teacher – I had spent many a lesson staring out of the window at the dock outside. Finally, at the age of eighteen, I could bear it no more. I ran away from home. I found a job as the cook’s assistant on a ship which was setting sail to place I had never heard of. The journey after that has been wonderful. Sometimes, I miss my parents. But I just push them out of my mind and continue onwards.
When I received the letter to join the Bermuda Sails, I was overjoyed. My reputation as a sailor has improved quite a bit after my first ride. So has my knowledge. I have always been intrigued by the Bermuda Islands, so I joined the Sails at once. I have decided not to put any indication of the time or date in this journal. Should I perish on the Sails, my journal will benefit many young sailors after me.
The Bermuda Sails is a large ship. It is led by Captain Hoogly. He is an Indian Sailor, named after a river in India. He is quite a brave man. He has been at sea since he was a small child. He is now about fifty-six. He is extremely kind, and understands the sea better than any of us. But to his enemies, he is absolutely deadly.
Today is a stormy day. I was sitting bored in my cabin and came up with the idea of a journal. The wind is howling outside. It is not raining, but it looks as if a downpour can start anytime. We are nearing our destination – we shall be there soon, in about a few hours, I should say. The storm will not delay us much. The Sails is built for worse than the storm which is brewing.
I am most excited to land on the Bermuda islands. Once there, I will record each and every detail of our journey. That is, if I have the time. No human who has set foot on Bermuda has ever returned, so this is a most memorable journey. Maybe, just maybe, my parents will hear my name, and realize that their own daughter, the one they thought was not capable of going out to sea, has safely returned from the Bermuda Islands. Should I survive the journey, the first thing I will do is set sail for my home town and find my parents.
The storm seems much worse now. The wind is splashing against the sides of our ship. Captain Hoogly has called everyone to come and help with steering the ship. I shall have to go now, but I will write more soon.
What a turn events have taken! It is unbelievable to think that just a few moments ago, I was thinking the Bermuda Sails would actually survive a journey which much better ships could not withstand. I am sitting under a palm tree as I write this. Our ship could not survive the storm. It was all because of the cook, Quentin. He insisted that we should all take a bit to eat before we started our duties against the storm. He dropped his meat chopper through the floor. The ship started filling up with water from the bottom. The rain had started, which meant that the ship was filling up with water at the top, too. Everyone was panicking, and I do not say I wasn’t one of them. Captain Hoogly tried his best to calm us down, and then set us to work lowering the lifeboats and some supplies in them. But there was not much to rescue. Most of the supplies were already soaked through. The first thing we did was lower fresh water barrels onto the lifeboats. Then we tried to salvage as much as we could. The kitchens had hardly anything left worth taking. We had to do all this in thunder, lightning and water up to our knees, rising ever higher. Captain Hoogly got pushed overboard in the process – he had been trying to lower a particularly stubborn lifeboat into the water when the piece of ship he had been standing on splintered and sent him crashing into the water. Most of the people at the ship were already too panicked, and when they saw that Captain Hoogly had disappeared, they completely lost their heads and pushed off from the ship.
I managed to save my journal and a packet of waterproof pens by shoving them in front of my jacket. Then I climbed into a lifeboat and pushed off just as the ship broke down completely. The sea was extremely rough. I rowed and rowed until my arms ached, but I dared not stop. I could not possibly give up. Captain Hoogly hadn’t given up, why should I? So I just continued onwards, away from the storm. The sea got increasingly more pleasant as I rowed on. It was as if the storm had never come. My arms felt as if they were about to fall off when I finally sighted land. I rowed as fast as I could.
It was a small island. The beach looked pleasant and inviting, and there was a forest farther away from the beach. When I disembarked, the first thing I did was pull my boat to a cluster of rocks which were well out of reach of the tide. Then I took a flask from the water barrel and walked into the forest. The sky is nearly hidden by the thick branches of the trees. There are flowers and bushes, and birds such as those I have never seen in my travels. There are lizards, snakes and a lot of other animals. I cannot see any predators so far, except for a few eagles. I have found a river, and a cave just beside it. It is in this cave I am sitting and writing from.
I walked back to the beach and slowly unloaded my boat. I draped seaweed on the boat, in case there were people on the island who saw it. They might not be friendly. There does not seem to be any human life on this island so far, but one should always be wary. I have made the cave a sort of home for myself. I do not know how long I will be here – I might even stay for the rest of my life. This island has everything – food (I have started hunting and gathering fruits), water, fresh air. The only thing I miss is company.
I have found a companion. Not a human, but a cat. The moment I saw him, I knew he was not like the other cats on the island. There was a certain look in his eyes which made me pick him up and stroke him. I have named him Hoogly, in memory of the captain. He has proved very useful in catching all the rodents that steal my food. I feel much better now that I have a friend, even if it’s just a feline friend. I hope a ship comes to the island soon. I miss travelling at sea. I don’t dare go for excursions now because a storm might brew up anytime or I might lose the island. I have started feeling that the storm wasn’t natural. There doesn’t seem to be a single survivor except myself.
I went exploring today. Hoogly went with me. I do not keep him locked up, of course – I know what it feels like to be caged. I often felt trapped after my parents told me I couldn’t go to sea. I let Hoogly roam around at his own will. First, we went to the beach. Hoogly kept to the outskirts of the forest – cats do not like water much. I looked around to check for my boat – I got a horrible shock when I found out it wasn’t to be seen anywhere. Then I remembered that I had draped it with seaweed, and went to the green mess I had noticed just outside the forest. My boat was still in perfect condition. Then I set off towards the forest, followed by Hoogly.
The forest is a beautiful place, as I have described earlier. I went deep in, possibly to the very heart of the forest. I found a spring, maybe the one the river near my cave originates from. The water was cold and clear. I fished in the lake. Hoogly was torn between horror at going near the spring and the enticing smell of the fish. He looked at me with such mournful eyes that I had to give him some fish. I decided to roast the fish at night, so I collected some more wood for fire and picked up some rough stones. We then commenced deeper into the forest.
The animals of the forest are not afraid of me, possibly because they have never seen humans before. Birds, however, took flight when Hoogly approached, which is a pity, because they are birds such as those I have never seen before. They have brightly colored feathers and sharp beaks. I would’ve loved to take a closer look, but having a cat smelling strongly of fish does not help. I do not regret having Hoogly, though. He is most useful. Towards afternoon, when I was resting under a tree, a snake slithered by. The snake looked innocent enough, so I didn’t bother it. Hoogly, however, stared at it with wary eyes. Just as I was drifting off, the snake lunged at me; it bit me on my thumb. Mere seconds later Hoogly had torn it in half. The sting did not seem poisonous, so I just washed it in the stream and continued onwards. I will have to stop writing now – light is fading fast and I am tired after my excursion.
It has been days since I last wrote. I feel ill. My sight seems blurred and unfocused. My thumb has swelled, and a bluish ting is steadily spreading outwards from the puncture marks. The snake, it seems, was poisonous after all. I have not been out of my cave since the day after I got bitten; I feel too weak. I am living on the berries and fruits I saved in case I got ill or the weather was too bad to go hunting or gathering. Hoogly often gets me some rodent or the other, but they are nasty unless cooked. Hoogly stands guard over me at night. I somehow dragged myself to the river yesterday to get some water – that cost me a lot of effort, even though the river is right beside my cave. I feel worse than ever tonight – I fear I will not survive the night.
(This journal was found washed up on the shores of a beach. There was no indication whether Audacia survived or not. We are presuming she did not.)