Companion to Day Thirty-Seven: Nautical Terms


Rain. Hail. Rope burns on my arms and chest. Can’t see. Can’t eat. Can’t think. All I can do is hold on until the end. If this ever ends.


The sky was lit by stars instead of lightning. I hung out all my clothes, and asked Oldy how he knew we’d live.

He said, ‘I always know.’


Avast: stop

Belay: delay (usually pausing an order while it’s discussed)

Taken aback: when the ship ain’t going the way people meant it to go.

Chunder: abbreviation of “Watch under” meaning “I’m up in the rigging and about to throw up on you”.

Port: Left side of the ship if you’re facing forward.

Starboard: Right side of the ship.

Nelson’s Balls: Two round brass things, traditionally located in the bridge. One is coloured green and the other red, representing port and starboard (I can’t remember which is which – I suppose that’s why Nelson’s balls are necessary. That, and sailors who don’t know their right and left).

To freeze the balls off a brass monkey: A ‘brass monkey’ is a brass frame designed for cannonballs – it’s a kind of brass mesh (but solid) that the first layer of cannonballs sits on. Other cannonballs can be piled on top of the first layer to make a pyramid (handy for storage). But if it gets cold enough, the brass changes shape, making the balls fall off the brass monkey.

Published by Felicity Banks Books

I write books (mainly adventure fantasy for kids and young adults), real-time twittertales, and a blog of Daily Awesomeness. @Louise_Curtis_ and My fantasy ebook is on sale at

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