Maui Girl

These stories from Donna Austin come from her rich Maui history and heritage.

25 January 2007

Chapter Six: The Stranger's (Gus) Escape

It was Terra de Fuego’s foggy mountain-tops and rain and gales that greeted us that day as we now moved westward through mountainous seas. I was terrified but resigned. We stopped in Maui and unloaded 17,000 pounds of bone. While there, small boats were sent ashore for Irish and sweet potatoes, firewood and fresh water.
“I fell in love with the beauty of the islands I gazed at it from off shore. Never was I allowed on the small boats that went ashore when we stopped in Honolulu or along the California coast or back again around the horn. My skills were too valuable and they were afraid I would try to escape.”
“I had been traveling for two years and four months and three weeks according to the notches on my bunk bed that I had made when we again docked in Maui. Remembering the beauty of the island and realizing there was no hope of my captain bringing me home or of even letting me go ashore, I decided to risk my life by swimming for the shore rather than staying in that living hell of confined quarters, terrible breathing atmosphere, poor hygiene and nausea aboard ship.”
The first mate tried to stop me when he saw what I was doing. I stabbed him in the groin as he reached for his gun. The captain called for his men to start shooting, as I leaped into the water and swam for shore. He sent men in small boats to look for me, but they were too late. As soon as I reached shore, I hid and I ran and that’s what I have been doing for days and months now. I don’t know which is worse, hanging for the stabbing of the first mate or serving under Captain Seymour on the “Bark Pacific” again


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