Governor of Ex and Umbagollah, Madame,
wants to complain about the ships' captains round here. None of
them'll sail with me. Me I'm an excellent sailor an fisherman with nine years
experience and has sailed on four ships, all of em gone down while I
was on board and me the only survivor. Now they call me unlucky. I
says, "Nah mates, I'm lucky enough, it's the ships that's not lucky
- they sank."
First ship ran onna reef rocks in the north.
The reef forms a kind of natural wall across the sea, trappin sand
between its own self and the land, so the water was shallow here and
I was able to paddle for a bit then wade the last four hundred feet
into the beach. The whole shoreline is like that up north - shallow
and sandy with a coupla sharp rocks. No smooth rocks. All of um are
so sharp you could cut your hair with em - longways. Lotsa rockpools
when the tides go out. Lotsa fish hiding in the rockpools. They know
you can't get to them. They laugh at you.
The beach I come
out onto is flat as a tack. It goes on an on to either side. All
along the top of the Forest of Ex is one long beach with no cliffs
nor aught. The forest beside the beach is quiet as quiet. All I
hears is the tops of the trees going su-su in the wind.
Reminded me of my old girlfriend whose name was Mary Thumb. Anyways.
So you've got the sea on the one side, and it's making hardly any
noise, and the forest on the other side making hardly any noise and
it nearly drives me mad. I thought, "I got to get away from this
I judged that I was east of the Bay of
Ex, so I walked for half a day til I got there. I almost got killed
by being thirsty on the way, but I found a stream like a thin
shoelace of water comin down a tree trunk. I thought it might be
poisin but it warn't.
I got to Ex an then I was OK.
The next time we got wrecked it was down the east coast.
East coast's not like the north. East coast's all big blobby rocks
and it's windy as buggery. Big waves. A pair of waves got hold of
our ship from different ends and folded it up in the middle. I came
ashore clawin my way over these rocks. If they'd've been those sharp
rocks in the north I wouldve been slit open, but this was more like
climbin over bricks. It's not recommended for comfort, but it
dont kill you.
There's not many beaches over here. The
ground mostly just comes up out of the sea at a steepish slope and
the slope goes up higher than a man and then it turns into the
countryside. I swam alongside one of these slopes for a good
half-hour before I comes to a beach and it was a pebbly knobbly
beach at that. It hurt me feet cos the sea had taken me shoes off.
No rockpools here, just big stones rolling around on the sea bed and
I hear them knocking together, "Tonk, tonk," while I'm swimming. I
thought a fish was chasin me. I can hear em when I'm standing on the
beach too, this deep slow "blonk blonk" underwater noise.
I'm standin on the beach with half me clothes off and the sea is
goin 'blonk' and the wind is trying to take the rest of me apparel
away to give to its grandmother and I start walking inland but I'm
in despair cos nobody lives in the Hills except a few weirdos. But
then I come across these lights in the distance and I says to
meself, "Oi," and it's the house of a Duke called Charmin or
something and I'm saved by him and I faints on his divan in me wet
knickers with the purple stripes. I wish it had been me all-black
ones but we can't be too fussy about these things, that's what I
That's the east coast.
Now, down south it's a
lot different. Bein wrecked there is like eatin honey-cakes. There's
clear water and beautiful sand everything's nice, you know,
everything's the way a beach is supposed to be. The rocks aren't too
sharp and there's always a village nearby to you, or a Mum from Gum
Gooloo takin her kiddie for a walk along the edge of the sea, and
there's mussels in the rocks so even if there was nobody else
around, you could still have a good feed. There's lots of little
freshwater streams too, running down from the river. You never go
hungry or thirsty in the south. I'd like to get wrecked there again
The west is all cliffs, big, big cliffs and
headlands and massive bits of rock what used to be cliffs, all
standin in the sea up to their ankles and sayin, "Oo dear me, aren't
we gettin wet." If your wrecked here, all you can do is try to
find a bit of land at the groin of two cliffs - imagine two cliffs
comin together like two legs and me sittin in a cave at the top of
the V shape. You sit there til the sun comes up and you can climb up
the cliff to your freedom. That's what I had to do. It hurt me arms
something ferocious. I never want to do that again. From the top
these cliffs are grand and wonderful and and wild and people say
they're magic to look at, but I bet those bastards never had to
climb up one at darkness in the mornin.
I hear the cliffs turn to
beaches up in the north part of the Falling Hills, but I've never
seen it. Might be where that long north coast beach starts but I
Now I've done you a service by tellin you all about
these coasts an given you knowlege what you never wouldve known
without me and I given it to you humbly an with no thought of
reward so could you please tell some captain that he has to let me
go on board his ship? Cos this is vile discrimination and nothing
but on the part of the seafarin fraternity of which I ought to be a
right and proper member but am currently bein done in by.
am your humiliated servant, Vito Younghammock.