In honor of Doctor Who’s recent pirate episode, here’s a true Australian story that actually predates steampunk (the first picture is from a mini-series I haven’t seen, and the second is yours truly on the Young Endeavour tall ship).
From the appendices of “A Long Way Home” by Mike Walker ( the appendices are from James Martin’s memorandums):
[The convict James Martin escaped Botany Bay in a tiny boat and aimed for the Indonesian island of Timor, along with several other convict men, plus Mary Bryant and her two very young children. This is taken partway along the insane journey North, when the boat is already leaking and they hoped to make repairs on land]
Here we found aplenty of fresh water – hawld our Boat ashore her Bottom being very leaky they Better to pay her Bottom with some Beeswax and Rosin which we had a small Quantity Thereof – But on they Same night was drove off by they natives – which meant to Destroy us – we launched our Boat and Raod off in they stream Quite out of Reach of them – that being Sunday Morng. We Attempted to land when we found a place Convenient for to Repaid our Boat we accord. We put Some of our things – part being ashore there Came they natives in Vast Numbers with Speers and Shields etc we formed in parts one party of us Made towards them they better by signs to pacify them But they not taking the least notice accordingly we fired a musket thinking to afright them But they took not the least notice Thereof –
On perceiving them Rush more forward we were forced to take to our Boat and to get out of their reach as far as we Could – and what to Do we Could not tell But on Consulting with each other it was Determined for to row up they harbour which accordingly we rowed up they harbour 9 or 10 miles till we made a little white sandy isld. In they middle of they harbour – which land. Upon and hawled up our Boat and repair her Bottom with what little materials we had. [Soon they were using soap to minimise leaks, and bailing constantly. They did, however, make it safely to Timor – a voyage of 4000 miles – without a single death, and managed to pass themselves off as shipwrecked sailors. Their feat was one of the greatest maritime adventures of the age, and made Bligh jealous because he simply wasn’t as awesome as they were.]