Maui Girl

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

22 January 2007

Chapter Six: The Stranger's Story

“Unfortunately, I met up with Captain Jacob Seymour one day, as I worked at repairing a part of the wharf damaged by a storm. He had come ashore to unload 110 barrels of whale oil, which they had obtained on their two month trip from New Bedford to Flores.
Although Captain Seymour was big and powerful and mean looking, he acted so friendly and was very persuasive. He told me, “We need carpenters badly to repair ship parts and make new furniture. You will love the travel and adventure and make lots of money to bring home to your family.”
“I was 18 and naively innocent. I believed every word he said. Twenty four hours later, I was signed in and aboard the ship with my few belongings, my bible and my tools of the trade.”
As we passed my home island of Faial, our ship anchored in the harbor for supplies. A small boat was sent ashore. I begged Captain Seymour to let me go ashore and say goodbye to my parents. I knew they would worry terribly if they didn’t know what had happened to me.
The captain laughed and said, “Here, look through my spyglass, for that is the only sight you will ever have of this shore again!”
“I gazed longingly at my parent’s island and at their home and some of my other neighborhood friend’s homes. They looked so pretty to me. I felt homesick already. I knew then that I was in the hands of a tyrant and would never be able to escape.
“Two days later, we sailed off towards the south and the unknown. No one spoke Portuguese. I didn’t know what to do except obey the Captain who was considered the master.”
“Two months and eleven days later we heard the watch man yell, “Land ahoy!”

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