Beyond the Mountains of Madness -Sailing to Panama (short interlude)
by, 6th February 2012 at 02:11 PM (561 Views)
Her side blackened and scorched, the Gabrielle is towed to a new birth.
The police grill the team until the early hours of the morning, but they decide not to hold the expedition.
9th September 1933
The next morning the smoke has cleared, and the warehouse is little but smoldering embers.
After a check over of the ship, its apparent that the damage is superficial. Many supplies have been destroyed, but the firefighting efforts have saved vital items, so a resupply in Panama and Australia should be possible. The conclusion is that the Gabrielle can sail as planned.
Detective J.J.Hansen visits the team to inform them that Polk has a police record as an arsonist, and notes mildly that it is a bit odd that the known arsonist was the one person amoungst the dead who has been shot. However, he has insufficient evidence to hold them, and the S.S.Gabrielle sets sail at last on the afternoon tide.
The next couple of days, the group get used to shipboard life.
Every morning after breakfast, a chalkboard is set up displaying the weather forecast, the longtitude and latitude , and which classes are available for that day.The party discovers the joys of learning polar survival, aircraft maintenance, meteorology, dog sledding and even ballroom dancing.
Romford and Halperin run a class on aerial navigation and Harry and Fitzwilliam run a class on photography. Adam Henning starts a poker game with Ford, the ships Cook Nils, and the ships engineer Bert Pacquare.
Dibden organises a bridge night - and thus the week is whiled away on a mixture of schoolwork and leisure.
Dibden and Fitzwilliam are introduced to the huskies properly, especially Princess and Duchess, two lead sled dogs, and begin to get to know the viking-like Enke Fiskarsen, aone of the dog sled team leaders.
During the bridge nights, Charlene gets to know Dr Dibden and Fitzwilliam better, and Charlie hints that she has already met Dr Dibden before. She talks about growing up with her four brothers, and that she's more than capable of taking care of herself in a male-dominated environment.
Fitzwilliam mentions sailors have superstitions about having a woman on board. Charlie replies that this doesnt seem to be a problem but some of the sailors are beginning to feel a bit superstitious about the Starkweather Expeditions run of bad luck.
At the poker evenings, Romford and Ford discover they're not particularly good players, and learn a few tricks from the ships crew - albeit at the expense of their wallets. Ribald tales are told by Pacquare about Hennings previous voyages, including smuggling three women onboard from the Rio festival - complete with costumes.
At the end of the week, lights are spotted on the horizon, and eventually Panama hoves into view.