"Get back on this ship!" Captain Itan bellows. The self-threatening crewmember promptly halted and did an about face. "Not in your life time!" he pungently squirted as plunged back into the step that he was previously following. Captain Itan vaulted over the railing, on to the dock and began to pursue the fleeing defector. The sheer force of the Captain's bounding leap rocked the small Nina Polada with a force so great that it caused the boom to sweep across the deck hitting the first mate, Demount Caiman, in the head. He was out cold. The Captain caught up with the stray member of his crew. In one sweep of his hand he ripped the dissident from the ground by the collar of his shirt. A few quick steps and he was back on the ship. After disposing of the nonconformist he returned to his place at the wheel. "Move it! We're two weeks behind already." Captain Itan blurted after noticing the lack of energy in his first mate and the crew in general. The lineman untied the lines as the crewmembers pulled them in. At the same time other crewmembers raised the sails.
After their homeport of Barcelona, Spain had vanished below the horizon Captain Itan strolled to his cabin below deck. Demount stood at the wheel for the next two and half days until they had reached Valencia where they picked up their first load of cargo. As the Nina Polada entered the port Captain Itan rose from belowÔ the deck and stood proudly on the deck. The Nina Polada eased up to the dock. The crew threw the lines overboard and the dock boys tied them off. The gangplank slid out and hit the dock with a sturdy bang followed by the hardsoled shoe footsteps of Captain Itan walking briskly down it's length. "Welcome to Valencia captain," a man with a clean suit said, "I have heard of what you are planning and I would like very much to send a small bit of cargo with you." Captain Itan inquired as to how much cargo he would be sending and they made a quick deal. The crew loaded the four small crates into the hold of the Nina Polada. They spent the night in port and left early the next morning. By nightfall they had passed out of the Gulf of Valencia.
During the next four days the sky was tempestuous causing poor visibility leaving the Nina Polada to follow the coastline at a much closer distance than usual until they reached Málaga. Upon nearing the city from which they were to pick-up their most valuable cargo they noticed that there was a large group of townspeople waiting on the dock. The Nina Polada glided up and was promptly tied off. The blank slapped the hard wood of the dock. Captain Itan hurriedly traversed it and begun looking for his contact amongst the large crowd of onlookers. A rather tall man in an odd looking white suit raised his hand and motioned to Captain Itan. Captain Itan bellowed to the man that they should work their way back to the ship. After a few seconds of impolite pushing and shoving they were both on the deck of the Nina Polada. The man's voice matched his suit, "We'd better hurry, the town is expecting a national hero to arrive sometime today. I have five hundred bars of gold and a letter, which I would like you to take to my partner in Abidjan. I'm willing to pay fifty gold bars." Captain Itan agreed to the price. "The crates are on the other side of the dock, I'll send them up." The man strolled down the plank and summoned a few of men who carried the crates onto the deck. Captain Itan thanked the man for his business, and the Nina Polada was on its way.
The next few days were clear, and the wind increased after they passed through the straits of Gibraltar. Demount was at the wheel for the next few days as the coast of North Africa slid by at an unchanging pace. The going was easy, but that made the crew all the more anxious to find the next port. Only one week and two days after they left Barcelona they arrived in Casablanca. The crew quickly disembarked and went to the local taverns, where they stayed until long after the sun had set. The next day the revitalized crew crept back on board. Captain Itan made a headcount and discovered that the dissident from the departure incident had not returned. There was no hope of finding him now, he could have traveled all the way to Meknês by that time. Captain Itan checked him off in his logbook and the Nina Polada set sail.
With another two weeks behind them they reached the Canary Islands where they again stopped to regain their moral. Another two weeks passed until they reached Dakar. The anchorage was small but adequate. Captain Itan went in search of business. After several hours of inquiring around he found what he thought to be a person who was interested in having cargo shipped. The man told Captain Itan that he would meet him in the tavern in the northern part of the town in the late afternoon. It was now noon and Captain Itan and his crew were looking for a place to eat. After being thrown out of one place for a slight bit of roughness and chased after by another for suddenly deciding that the food was not worth paying for. It was now late afternoon. The Captain headed the mass perpendicular to the slouching sun until the loud noises of the people faded to a dull roar. A few questions were asked of the locals as to where this "northern tavern would be." Captain Itan and First Mate Demount left the other crew behind and entered the murky tavern. As they entered a hooded man cautiously approached them and spoke, "I have some that I would like you to take with you to Zanzibar, a merchant in the south part of the harbor will be expecting you." "What price would he be paying me for these?" The Captain queried. "One hundred gold bars." "How much do these weigh?" The drilling continued until both parties were satisfied with the deal. After regrouping the Nina Poladians worked their way back to the ship.
An unwieldy amount of time passed before they reached Abidijan, and as in all the times before the crew was bored and tired. Before they could rest though, they had to drop off the four crates from Mlgala. The task was simple in theory yet it was not so easy to accomplish. The search for the owner was not easy and required a sizable amount of questioning. With four hours behind them and noon approaching they finally located the person who the crates belonged to. He was thankful and after opening the crates pulled out fifty bars of gold and gave them to the Captain.
The next leg of their journey was the longest yet. One week after they had left Abidijan a storm of incredible force pushed them far out into the Atlantic Ocean. It took them two weeks of fighting to the left of the rising sun to get back to the coastline. Two crewmembers were getting sick and there was no hope of getting them to a town in time for the care that they needed. After a week the first died. Captain began, "We knew him well, he helped us get this far and now let's keep going with a memory of his dedication to achieving the goal that is all of ours in our minds." Two members picked up the small wooden box and tossed it overboard. The other man recovered two weeks later. With little to do and a lot of time to do it in, fights arose for little or no reason. Ed and Mayo— who were in charge of raising the main sail started to fight. Ed said that Mayo— was not pulling as hard as he could. Ed lost that fight with a black eye and a broken thumb. There were other fights all for similar and meaningless reasons.
Finally the Nina Polada reached Luanda. There they quickly found the person who was to buy one of their crates that they had brought all the way from Barcelona. For a whole week the crew sat in taverns and pubs eating and drinking whatever they could find. With that quick rejuvenation they crew was ready to resume their journey.
They had now entered the least inhabited section of their trip, there were few towns and no ports. The wooded desert soon lost the trees to become just barren desert. The days were fiery and the nights were brisk. Many of the crew that were needed on the deck at all times were coughing and many had to be replaced temporarily until they were able to be of use again. After several weeks the mountains also lost their greenery. All was empty. The wind sped up and the nights grew colder. The crew grew sicker. Time passed like the glaciers of the far north, each day eroding away at the patience of the men and their Captain. The night lapsed and one hundred and eighty-first day of their journey had begun. The sun was radiating with an intensity that seemed to melt the flesh. The wind had gone without a trace and the Nina Polada moved slowly across the blank landscape. After another month of the monotony the Large Port of Cape Town appeared. Even as they pulled up to dock and tied up businessmen were shouting at Captain Itan that they would like to buy or sell products. Captain Itan and First Mate Demount both spent the remainder of the day wheeling and dealing. By the time they left they had sold the five remaining crates from Barcelona and gained six new crates.
Either the heats intensity or the rain and wind were disturbing the Nina Polada's peace. Forest after forest came and went. First the Conifers then the Rainforests and finally the light wooded shrub-land with little patches of rain forest splotched her and there. The weather changed many times, but as the bigger view of it came up it was obvious that it was steadily growing cooler. The clouds began to gather and the air grew cooler even during the days. The nights also changed, instead of being drastic opposites of the day, they became gentle waves of mildly cool air drifting by at rates that complimented the day's warmth. It was pleasant. The crew did little, but they were not bored, they fished and played simple games with their what few items they had brought with them. Every one knew that soon they would be in a port where there would be lots of excitement. Everyone felt pleasant.
Just days before the Nina Polada was to reach Zanzibar another storm snapped it's whip upon the small boat. The crew fought to keep on course. The coast was jagged with many large rocks lining it. One slip or one extra strong gust of wind and they would be smashed to pieces. For four drawn out days Captain Itan fought at the wheel just to keep the Nina Polada from the rocks. When the storm had finally passed, the crew was exhausted. Fortunately for the crew the Zanzibar was only two days away. Two crates were dropped off and one hundred gold bars were received for the delivery immediately after they entered the port. The partying was wild, the men had saved up all their energy during the long trip and even though they had been through a storm none of them seemed at a loss.
This section would be the longest of any that they would travel, it would also be the most desolate. The land was mostly desert with a very few scattering of grassland if a few areas of the West African coast. Though it was starting to warm up again, and the sun returned to it's blister setting. This time, the nights were not cooler than the days. The mariners were very uncomfortable. After months of varying weather conditions, the Nina Polada reached The Gulf of Aden. From there they would head as due north as they could approximate. Within four days they gladly spotted land. The coastline weaved back and forth with each day. The shore began to curve inward. Everyone knew that Muscat was soon to be on the horizon. The Harbor was small. There were few people near the docks. They docked. Everyone tiredly disembarked and found places to relax. The receiver of another of the crates was eagerly awaiting in a tavern near the jetty. Their stay was short, they left the next morning. The coastline was very broken. Captain Itan twisted the wheel back and forth staying a even distance from the shores. For days this went on. First Mate Demount took over the wheel for the last two days before they reached Karachi. The port was stale and dank. Through the din a man appeared, "Have you any goods to sell?" "Yes, Some Spices and other items from Africa" the Captain replied trying to seem unanxious. "I have one hundred gold bars, what would you sell me for that?" "We have two crates that would be just what you are looking for." The showed each other their items and made the trade.
The wind was up. The next jaunt was a quick one past scenic land. The sun was warm and the wind was mild. After maneuvering across the Gulf of Kutch and the Kathiawar Peninsula, they reached the Gulf of Cambay. A day to the west lay the rest of their trip. Another day south down the coast was the Bombay, their final destination. The port rolled up slowly, they walked off the ship thankfully. They made their traditional deals, left off the crates and began their yearlong journey back.