A small island and a large continent...
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 95 23:14:41 PDT
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: A small island and a large continent...
Excerpted-from: WhiteBoard News for April 03, 1995
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!
The mystery of a pirate song that baffled generations
of sailors by referring to "15 men on the dead man's
chest" has been solved by an explorer, according to a
The song, sung by sailors when hauling ropes on their
sailing ships, was included by Robert Louis Stevenson
in his classic novel "Treasure Island" published in
1883, but its origin was never explained by the writer.
In the latest issue of Geographical, published by
Britain's Royal Geographical Society, explorer Quentin
van Marle says Dead Man's Chest is a tiny isle that
forms part of the British Virgin Islands in the
Van Marle found from local history and folklore that
pirate Edward Teach, known as Blackbeard, punished a
mutinous crew by marooning them on Dead Man's Chest,
which has high cliffs and no water and is inhabited by
pelicans and snakes.
Each sailor was given a cutlass and a bottle of rum.
Teach's hope was that the pirates would kill each
other, but when he returned after a month he found 15
men had survived.
This would explain the verse:
"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest.
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!"
Buenos Aires, Argentina:
Argentine scientists warned that Antarctica's ancient
ice shelf has begun to break up in warming seas that
are slowing destroying a barrier that protects the
continental ice cap from melting.
"The first thing I did was cry," lamented Dr. Rodolfo
Del Valle, who discovered a 40-mile-long crack in the
northernmost part of the Larsen Ice Shelf that runs 600
miles up the Antarctic Peninsula.
Del Valle, who heads the Earth Sciences department of
Argentina's National Antarctic Direction, was radioed
by colleagues that their research station on the Larsen
Ice Shelf was being shaken by constant ice quakes.
U.S. scientists predicted in the 1970s that the melting
of Antarctica's ice shelf would be one of the first
clear signals of accelerating global warming.
© 1995 Peter Langston