Day Six~ Shipwrecked!
Aye, now. This is the sixth entry in the Captain's log of Elven Chief Sandy Gruelgrimm.
It was amazing that all of my crew made it safely to the lifeboats, and with the knowledge that a known island was to the east, as discovered by the Fae, it would make us easier to endure the grueling hardships ahead. The Fae flew from lifeboat to lifeboat, making sure that every boat had potable water aboard, for we did not want our stalwart seamen to die from dehydration. There were emergency supplies within each of the lifeboats, and it was ordered that each of the crew adorn floatation devices, despite the heat from the noonday sun, because the high waves of the salty sea easily tossed the small lifeboats around, dangerously.
Days passed slowly. And, aye, although I titled this entry as Day Six~ in reality, it took weeks before we made it to the Fae's island. We survived on emergency supplies; tinned food, freshly caught fish and mollusks, and potted water. We wore light materials over our heads, to shield our heads and eyes, and sponged seawater over our bodies, to keep our temperatures down from the scorching sun.We rowed -- how we rowed! Every seaman took turns with this arduous task, but I also stressed pacing one's time for relaxation shifts, as well -- the rolling waves, the hot, hot sun -- this extreme environment was a design for nausea and ill health -- and I prayed to my elven gods for every one of my crew to be able to take another breath -- feel a steady heartbeat within their bodies -- at least until we could safely see land ho! on the horizon.
When we finally reached the Fae's island, as we called it, some of the seamen kissed the beach sand, while others hugged each other with glorious exhilaration, feeling the brotherhood and sisterhood of elven spirit. To have made it to shore alive -- to have actually lived another day, aye -- this was like a miracle to each of us.
I allowed my elven crew to adjust themselves to their new environment -- to rest -- before giving them a mission to construct shelters and campsite for living on this island.
Cook Finwë Arcamenel was anxious to begin cooking immediately. He had a recipe for cooking freshly caught mixed shellfish: razor clams, mussels, clams, limpets, winkles and shrimp utilizing an ancient elven method that used a large flat-topped stone that was heated on an open fire. Arcamenel allowed the stone to heat-up for at least an hour. Then he removed the stone from the fire and lay it on the beach with its flat-side facing uppermost. With this done, he laid the shellfish on the stone (he made certain that shellfish like limpets had their open side down) then he laid long grass dampened with sea water on top. He allowed the mixed shellfish to steam for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the mussels opened their shells. We were encouraged to eat this gourmet feast immediately. With this assortment of fresh seafood, he found wild radish (also called jointed charlock), herbs, wild berries, edible mushrooms and wild lettuces growing on the island. A fresh water stream was later discovered further inland on this island by young Timmy, and we hooted and yelled with delight, for as ye well know, access to fresh water is a key element for survival on any island. (Aye, we were extremely low on our rationed supply of potable water.)
Finwë Arcamenel was also excited to discover the location of a grouping of cattails, near a small inland river which branched off from the fresh water stream within the island. As he expounded the wondrous properties of this plant, he said, excitedly that cattails grow where it is wet: near rivers, ponds, ditches, lakes, close to shore or farther out.
About the method of preparation, he said, quickly and with enthusiasm~ "There are numerous ways to prepare these plants: boiled immature and mature flowers, pollen in bread, stalks as a trail nibble, root starch for sustenance, root stems shoots as vegetables. The roots can be boiled and the starch stripped or sucked off the fibers. They can be dried, the starch grated off the fibers and the starch used as flour. You can crush the roots in water, let the starch settle, pour off the water, then use the starch. Or you can put the roots on embers and roast until black, then peel the black layer off and chew or suck the starch off the fibers. Also the core of the roots can be roasted until dry and used as a coffee substitute"
"Cattails have vitamins A, B, and C, plus potassium and phosphorus."
Again, I must mention that I was most fortunate to have Master Elven Chef Finwë Arcamenel with our party. Not only would he be able to feed our crew with the flora and fauna within our distinct region with finesse, but he knew of the restorative qualities that these wild foodstuffs held. During our days -- nay, weeks -- on the Fae's Island, the Fae, herself, went foraging for greens and herbs and edible berries with Finwë Arcamene, and often brought along young Timmy for these excursions, teaching him the old elven and faery ways of food gathering for subsistence.
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This night I am in my Captain's hut, comfortable in my knotted hemp-rope hammock; the island breezes feeling like heaven against my skin. I am close to dreaming~ thinking about how far we have come from our early seafaring days on my vessel, The Fae, and how long it will take for a rescue ship to come and bring us back home to Gambino Isle. The Fae, of course, sent out a message to mainland Gaia for a ship to come and collect us. Aye, she was rather vague about how quickly the response would take -- saying something about Faery time was different than our concept of time, as elves and humans, but that we would be rescued within the month -- or so she believed.
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