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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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On June 28, when we were at 2 ° 19 '29 "north latitude and 24 °, 21' west longitude of Paris, some tropical birds (Phaeton aethereus) and pelicans (Pelicanus aquila) were flying high above the ship. These birds can actually rest on the waves, but usually, especially the pelicans, only show themselves when the land is not too far away. Since we were on the high seas, we should assume from their appearance that there would be rocks in the vicinity. In fact, in some of our maritime atlases, such cliffs were indicated at the longitude at which we were going to cut the equator. At night, I thought the commander had passed out of this danger, when suddenly, at about nine o'clock, the scout of the watchman in the basket above resonated: "Rocks ahead of the ship!"

At that cry everyone came desperately to the deck and ran, running over each other; some shouted - "Fire!", others "Shipwreck!" However, the captain, not losing his cold-blooded presence of mind, promptly ordered that the sails be turned to halt the ship. The nearness of the suspected danger gave wings to the maneuvers, and the ship was instantly diverted from the pitfalls. So we were happily free from danger, and each one breathed openly after the fright, imagining the imminence of sinking. However, to navigate more safely at night, it was considered wise to dispatch a boat to investigate the supposed rocks. At the commander's call, Lieutenant Logodetti was introduced, who descended with a few more sailors, carrying a compass, a lighted lantern, and the swaying boat moved toward the presumed cliff. During these preparations, the moon had risen from the clouds, and it lit up the windswept sea. The whole ship's crew, from then on, with few sails, turned back, looked anxiously for the boat, whose light indicated the way. The fate of these men, caught in an open sand bar in the vast expanse of the ocean, perhaps exposed to a crash nearby, afflicted all fellow travelers; now one could anxiously see the light fade away, now its reappearance produced the most vivid joy; after that, however, the boat disappeared from our sight all at once and seemed to disappear altogether. As we exchanged different conjectures with one another, she sailed, unheard from all night with the most cautious expectation of the dreaded danger, and returned the next morning safe and sound to the frigate, with the news that the supposed rocks , announced by the watchman, were but the reflection and the tumult of the strong current.

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