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The Sad Journey of the "Polly"

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posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 07:25 PM
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***Mods move to appropriate section if deemed necessary***

Hello ATS. I have a short, sad historical tale to tell you of fate, suffering and cruelty. This concerns the Polly, a 131 ton brig. The time is the early 1800's. The place the vast Atlantic Ocean. Before I begin I want to first say that I learned the tale of this vessel in a story by Edgar Allan Poe. I read this story many years ago(when I was a teenager) and I had considered the footnote about this brig to simply be the tool of a thorough writer. Now, many years later, I learned he used the story of the Polly as a source of information for part of his story, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.

The Polly set to sea with a crew of seven. She was capsized in a gale and sent adrift for over six months. During that time she drifted over two thousand miles in heavily trafficked Atlantic ocean trade routes. The following quote is attributed to Remarkable Events and Remarkable Shipwrecks from which Poe quoted verbatim in his story:

"It is natural to inquire how they could float such a vast distance, upon the most frequented part of the Atlantic, and not be discovered all this time. They were passed by more than a dozen sail, one of which came so nigh them that they could distinctly see the people on deck and on the rigging looking at them; but, to the inexpressible disappointment of the starving and freezing men, they stifled the dictates of compassion, hoisted sail, and cruelly abandoned them to their fate."

Pretty despicable huh? I simply can't imagine the agonies those shipwrecked souls endured before being rescued. Worse, I don't even want to imagine seeing Redemption on the horizon so many times only to be disappointed to the point of weeping like a babe. We in the modern world today witness or hear about our fair share of wickedness but to plainly see stranded and shipwrecked people...and to pass them by and leave them to die is barbarous beyond measure. Only 2 of the 7 total crew survived. They were rescued on June 19, 1812. The brig was capsized on December 12, 1811. It must have been pure Hell those six long months(191 days to be exact) living in the hulk of the capsized brig.



Stories such as these make me happy for the few things that I have and make me thanks the heavens that I have not had to experience such desperate straights. A lot of people take our modern world for granted when a good proportion of those people have no idea how well off they are.

Things can always get worse. Yet things can always get better too.




posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 07:51 PM
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Six months drifting on a capsized ship on the middle of the Atlantic,

And there were two survivors? Thats very hard to beleive.



posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 08:09 PM
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a reply to: funkadeliaaaa

Yes, it's incredible. Not surprisingly water was a problem. Their freshwater stores lasted less than 3 weeks. They were able to collect it with a makeshift still crafted out of a tea kettle, metal pot and a pistol of all things. Boiled seawater and collected the condensation. They salvaged a good quantity of salt pork from the hold that lasted months if I recall. After that they ate barnacles which had attached to the hull and caught fish. They might not have survived at all but the cook was able to get a fire started after some time.

Two died during the capsize. 5 were stranded. 2 lived to be rescued. Who knows how many would have lived if one of the ships that passed had rendered aid.



posted on Feb, 17 2015 @ 10:59 AM
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originally posted by: funkadeliaaaa
Six months drifting on a capsized ship on the middle of the Atlantic,

And there were two survivors? Thats very hard to beleive.


Very hard.

Because it's not correct.

The vessel was 'knocked down' and held that way by the weight of her top hamper until the crew cut away her masts and she righted.

The vessel was flooded and awash but could not sink because of her cargo of lumber.

This, and other 'inaccuracies' lead me to question the entire story.



posted on Feb, 18 2015 @ 12:14 AM
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a reply to: Psynic

I should have explained in detail the events that left the crew stranded. I see now that was a mistake. I wanted to focus on the number of times the survivors were left abandoned by passing vessels. Thanks for correcting my mistake.




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