I am unsure of how to tell you of what has happened over the past weeks, i am not sure of how to explain to you what I have endured and seen.
I was preparing myself for the voyage but one can not prepare for such an ordeal, such a gastly state of affairs, it makes my blood run cold simply thinking about it.
If you could only imagine the dark places a man dwells within himself in the knowledge he is in his final hours, this is possibly a mans breaking point and there I have been and back again and lived to tell the tale of how we were nearly taken to the depths of the ocean.
It begun as a fairly pleasant trip through the jungle toward the coast passing several dubious check points where we were charged many various taxes.
We passangers, which totalled around 8, and the crew of 3 including our Spanish captain, were taken aboard our small vessell for our trip to Colombia, her name ‘The Saganagem’ which I am told means ‘Dark Humor’ in Portugese, Aye! And how humorous she was.
We passed island to island along the Sanblas islands which are idilic, they are inhabited by the ‘Kuna Yala’ people, they live very primitive lives here, perhaps no more than 4 or 5 people per island from what we saw, they make their money charging to go ashore or selling coconuts, fish and lobster to passing ships, so we spent our days swiming and walking the islands and plundering coconuts.
As soon as we set off for the open waters the waves were choppy and high, our befuddled passangers were wrought with sickness straight away and I had to become the eyes and ears to keep check on our blundering crew of men that were taking us to our fate!
The first day passed like this with the waves growing, when darkness arrived we went to bed and there one lays being thrown side to side making Mrs Moore very agitated.
In the early hours I was awoken to some loud crashes and bangs of waves, so I decided to go on one of my walks to check all was well, but when I was up on deck, there in the faint light was no one to be seen and the wheel was unmanned! To my horror the captain and his crew were asleep right there, i grabbed my cain and was poised ready to thrash the spaniard into the land of the living when he awoke and ran to the wheel, he must have seen my worry for he explained all was well and was in autopilot which I assume is a brick under the wheel!
The next day was much the same, the swells growing and winds picking up, the passangers spent most the time either hanging over the sides or in their cabins sharing buckets, I on the other hand have generations of naval stock in me and Mrs Moore has ancestors that were the lucky winners of her majesties free one way ticket to the land down under.
That night got worse, our waves were reaching between 4 and 6 metres, then the worst happened, water was pumping up from our cabin floor, we heard a commotion coming from outside our room, everyone was obviously worried, and then the engine shut off, I went out to check, the captain was asuring me all was well but one of his men had the floor boards up checking the engine.
I went and laid down wondering what to think when they must have let down the sails, the boat bobbed side to side furiously and was spining around sending our belongings flying, waves were battering the boat and water was filling her up, I ran outside and told them to pump the water, and so they did, I could have killed them all, our things were soaked.
To their luck they got the engine working and managed to take us into Cartagena harbour alive that morning, I am very sure that we nearly died.
And so we are on our last weeks away, we will see you soon, regards to brother, we must get sailing when I return!
At last I have found a quiet moment where I can stop to write home, sometimes it feels as if we are constantly moving or in the most romote of places in the world comparible only to being on the moon perhaps.
This lifestyle has grown me weary and I have found that my care and upkeep in attire has deteriorated to an almost nude state due to the heat, there is no place for Londons fashions around here… try as one may.
My shoes have been exchanged for sandles, my jackets are long gone along with my underwear, and my beard and hair have exceeded all gentlemanly proportions leaving me with a Robinson Crusoe like look, I had all but lost the will to shower until I arrived in Costa Rica to the first hot shower I have had in over a month and what bliss it was.
However the toilets here as always in this region can not take the tissue and one must discard over ones shoulder and never look back, it is truly an appalling scene that would have old Thomas Crapper turning in his grave, it is an unbearable escapade for an English lady, lucky one has a hardened wife from the outbacks of the colonies and is use to the ´dunny can´ as she cringingly refers to it.
We are in Panama on the caribbean island of Bocas Del Toro awaiting the sail to Colombia, do not fear for me my dear family but the passage is treaturous, some poor souls are lost at sea, others captured by rouge pirates parousing their blue empire and awaiting unsuspecting victims, not like myself ofcoarse.
Some vessels carry an illegal cargo of drugs or even people and are arrested or sunk by her majesties honerable navy.
There are even horror stories of crazed captains whom have floated on the oceans too long and have turned on their crew!
Ah but you know me too well! You think “but our son would put up a struggel to such bullies”, but remember this dearest innocent family, your son is no hero, no sir! He is just the chap that stands up when no one else will.
Alas! I am now about to join our Aussie colonial counterparts with a celebration of old captain Cooks ´ínvasion day´.
How I miss you all and wish you a happy new year, I am thinking back with the fondest of memories of the times we have stood around hand in hand singing the Auld Lang Syne.
I managed to escape the island and that scoundrel web, I left with haste after he descided to befriend me, he would shout up the street after me or out of pub windows, none of it made sense and people thought it best I scarper, so I sailed to the mainland and crossed Honduras quick as their damned bus routes may permit one to do so, it is not easy to travel there for some reason, everywhere else is good but this was a long and tedious afair, and also the army are out in the droves and its rather unnerving seeing the chaps pulling people over and thinking you´re next with a bribe note in hand, they definately mean business as that is the main route for the cocain trade, so apart from the good food, nice beaches, strange herbs and good old British heritage of Utila I wouldn´t go back to Honduras for my holidays anytime soon.
Also, I tried the diving… all I will say about the whole embarrassing thing is that I have decided we are not ment to breath underwater and I think Mrs Moore would agree.
On to Nicaragua, this wonderful country differs somewhat from its brother nations of latin america, instantly you feel the sense of their turbulant political history with huge murals of people in midst of revolution and fighting, there are statues of leaders and even of ´Che Guevara´.
Its so cheap here, you could live a very long time on not very much at all but restraint on going to the local for a few flangens of ale when it costs around 70p a pint is too great and I am sad to say that I had to remove us from the temptations and signed us up for an outing.
Now mother do not be alarmed, but there is a giant active volcano near by and we climbed it, I am not entirely sure why a man who is not fond of heights would do this but in the shop it seemed not so bad, of course it was.
The hike up was not that much fun, thankfully our native tour guide named Miguel took us most of the way up, when we reached the crater I nearly through up in it, I was struck with horror at the sheer magnatude of the thing, I have never seen anything like it and the drop to the lava below was so far that I had to run for safety, Mrs Moore was already in a similar state and we definately did not go back for another look.
We camped up there which I assumed would be nice but the weather on high objects tends to be not so great and the wind nearly took out every tent up there, also I suddenly became very aware that I was sleeping next to something actively dangerous and spent most the night waiting to bolt down the bloody thing.
Miguel woke us all for 4:30am and I could of brained him, he told us that we had to hike up a hill to see the sunrise for some reason, so all of us did, some 25 people roughly.
It was pitch black and I nearly broke my neck on the rubble that is strewn over the place from volcanic action, when at the top we waited and slowly it got lighter and I suddenly realised I was on a high steep slop on an active volcano next the the smuldering crater with the gases bellowing out and overlooking about some 6 or 7 other volcanoes and Miguel informed me one erupted about a week ago!
There are times in my life I have hated myself for being so short sighted and this was one, health and safety do not come before money over here so good discretion is advised, I just sat there waiting for the damned sun to rise so we could climb down again, but the sight was truely awe inspiring.
So eventually we desended and packed up ready to go, Miguel then tells me that I have to hike 3 and half hours down in temperatures that have been hitting the late 30´s, this was not in the list of things to expect from our adventure, I asked Miguel if I should throw our rubbish into the crater and he said “what do you think this is? the city dump?”, to which I replied I thought it a better solution than the current one of chucking it all in the street and he never spoke to me again.
So I am not moving around well today and I have a swollen foot, we are leaving tomorrow and heading toward another group of volcanoes south, ah well assured I will not climb them.
Love to grandpapa
Firstly may I wish you all a very merry Christmas, I am saddened not to be there with you but I managed to sit in on the merriment’s celebrated here, I must say that I missed fathers roasted parsnips terribly and was kept awake most the night by locals letting off fireworks for reasons beyond me.
Sencondly it seems I am alive and the world has surpassed the Mayan predictions, I did however managed to be taken up river to witness a few ceremonies on the big day and I have been told that the Mayan calendar has now expired and what I saw may very well have been the end of the religion itself!
There were shaman performing rituals and gatherings of people (and stray dogs) dressed in a colourful array of fanciful traditional dresses and hats and what not, we walked around briefly but we were not entirely welcomed and were told to keep our distance from the knees up.
Also, we have found something of true beauty, there is a hot spring near to where we were staying in southern Guatemala and it turns into a huge waterfall raining down upon a lake which you can swim in and stand under the waterfall letting the hot water hit your back, it is wonderful and has rejuvenating qualities, the hidden fountain of youth that the conquistadors spoke of could very well be this magical place.
We have now headed south into Honduras, let me say that my search for the lost cities has ended, there is nothing left here to plunder sadly but I have ended up on the island of Utila which is in the group of islands known as the Bay Islands, formally British the main language is English and there is a large population of white and black Caribbean people, piracy flourished in these parts and there is most defiantly the sense that it is still in the blood, keep the head down and try not to upset anyone or one could end ones days quickly if not careful, I have met one local who makes his own recipe of hot salsa, I purchased a bottle for you, he goes by the name of ‘Web’, he is however completely insane and seems peculiarly vulnerable to quick and sudden changes in temperament, I have been very successful at winning money in pool on this stretch of the trip but to him I will add I made sure to loose and made a hasty exit when he ran out to threaten a poor unsuspecting fellow with a pool cue, jumped on his vehicle and rode away in a plume of dust.
So here I am preparing to learn to dive, I am assuming I am to be immersed into the bosom of the ocean by means of a diving bell, what treasures await me I can only dream of.
I will see you all very soon I assure you.
At last I am in a place in which I could get word home once again.
If I told you the whole story of our debarkle in getting here you would quite possibly wash your hands of us altogether, however I will say we missed our voyage to new Spain by a day and I will add Mrs Moore was not in the highest of spirits, I did remind her that this is the life of a great explorer but you know how the fairer sex let their feelings the better of them, I am sure in time she will see the humour in it all.
We did make our way in to Mexico and moved rapidly down the dusty roads into Belize and onto Guatemala, the Caribbean sea glows like the Koh-i-noor as far as you can see and is clear enough to see deep into its depths.
Their local brews of Rum and Beer are very delicious and the food is spicey, perhaps to spicey for Mrs Moore but I will try to bring back a salsa for you all.
The people in Belize are of all mix of races but the British mainly used it as a slave port from Africa, it was nice to hear their accents in their broken English and I met an ancestor of old Henry Morgan himself I do believe.
Once in Guatemala my search for the lost cities begun and we went in search of `Tikal` which is a short trip north from `Lago De Peten Itza`, where I managed to coerce a local native into guiding me through the jungle.
There are many frightening beasts lurking in these places, my guide thought it funny to irritate tarantula so they would come out from their holes and I made clear to him my impatience with his buffoonery, I have never and never will enjoy looking at spiders, especially ones bigger than my hand.
The Spider monkeys peppered us with sticks and fruit from their trees aloft our heads which they thought very funny indeed until I open fired on them like Nelson on the French blowing them to smithereens, I recommend this sport Father very much but it is purely pleasure, you would not eat one of those things.
It saddens me to tell you that some other bugger had found and looted the booty before me! This confounded place (forgive me Mother) I dare say has made a fool of me, the locals seem to think its been quite some time since its discovery, I am nearly positive my guide was leading me up a garden path, so I left him there.
Mrs Moore and myself have retired to `Lago De Izabal` for a few days rest bite before setting off again, we are staying in a quint little place that hangs over the waters edge where I can read in peace and bask in the sun and ponder my next move.
We have also been informed by the locals that due to the Mayan calendar we are living on the last days of the world and that on December 21st all will end! They are quite serious, I know we have heard this sort of rubbish before but I will most certainly find a place to spectate the rituals and goings on with this celebration.
I will write again soon.
Dear Mother, Father and Family.
Please forgive me the lapse in time since my letter last, for I have been on a remarkable adventure across the great Pacific and it did nearly tear me limb from limb and swallow me whole and your son was to be lost forever, but that is not to be so, a storm ripped our mast and set us adrift for some time before we were rescued by a fisherman and bought to a plentiful land know as ‘California’, Mother if you look this up on the atlas you will see that I have gone from the far right side of the planet to the far left side, one must note that I have not traversed back upon myself below Africa but sailed from off the right side to join the left, it is confusing one must admit and Father will explain.
What bliss this gentle place has graced me with, its calm and warm even though it is midwinter and I am able to sleep at night not afraid of my life once again from the killer species of Australia that lurk in the dark corners.
Somehow Mrs Moore has survived our onslaught and appears unscathed and well and we are reunited once again, we have been holed up down in southern California where I knew that an old acquaintance from Sweden named Anders lived, we headed our way by locomotive to ‘San Diego’ to seek refuge and to try and get on our course once again to make our way further south onward to central america.
We have been spending much of our time reminiscing on old times in Sweden and London, of friends and family and talking much of what we would regard to be that of fun times for a young man which Mrs Moore much disaproves of.
I have missed my old chum and do wish to see him once again, for if I ever return again perhaps I will settle here, it holds much serenity and peace that one could do with having, these old colonials may be missing the English class to guide them, but they seem to be getting along, note Father that I have found civilization does exist beyond the boarders of the Empire, or at least one that is without cricket and tea, to which Father I am positive is laughing heartily, we all know his views of the Americans.
And so I will leave it here, who knows what more the heavens have in store for us.
Wish us god speed.
Your ever loving son
Top, A chance meeting with the great explorer, navigator and dear friend Captain James Cook.
Second row left, the fabled Genus Dacelo or ‘Kookaburra’.
Second row right, a near escape from the jaws of death.
Third row left, Fort Denison, former prison and the last martello tower to be built by the British.
Third row right, Mrs Moore being savaged by a beast.
Forth row left, Mrs Moore enjoying the local cuisine.
Forth row Middle, a Kangaroo.
Fourth row right, a deadly snake.