Bizarre & amazing tales of surviving at sea, even the ships cat wasn’t safe

Doug Williams
 

The planet earth is overwhelmingly friendly to us, but it often shows its real cruel character especially if you are in the middle of a sea, and there is no way to go. Following are some interesting survival stories that stemmed from the ship journeys and provide an insight into the world of shipwreck survival.

 

The Peggy’s Crew

Straight out of a well-crated survival fiction, the story of an American Sloop the Peggy is both horrifying and bewildering. The ship was on its way back to New York after successful trading in the Azores in 1765. After getting battered by two massive storms the ship lost its route and went adrift while most of the provision went off the deck and into the raging water.

The ship captained by David Harrison had a hell of a challenge to keep his men alive while somehow finding land and food for the crew.

The situation on board The Peggy quickly turned ugly when the crew had eaten almost everything remotely edible available on the ship, even the only cat on the ship was killed and eaten. Captain Harrison on the bed and no food on board the crew resorted to cannibalism starting from Harrison’s black servant who was selected through the lottery. Before the crew could eat another, they were rescued by a London-bound ship which provided them with enough provisions to survive the ordeal.

Philp Ashton

While working on a fishing boat near the coast of Nova Scotia in 1723 Philip Ashton and his fellow sailors were attacked by pirates who offered them two choices; die or become pirates, Ashton decided to join the pirate crew. At the time of capture Ashton was only 19 and despite his apparent willingness to join the pirates he absolutely resented their practices. He carried along and pretended to be a productive member, however, he constantly looked out for any chance to escape the hell.

His chance came when the Pirate’s leader sent a team in search of water and food on a remote Island near Honduras. While the other members of the group were filling up water from the stream, he slowly drifted away and disappeared in the woods. Pirates left the island after a brief search and Ashton was left to survive alone on the island though there was plenty fruit and wild animals to hunt on the island. Nine months later a Spanish trader arrived on the Island and left him a knife and flint to hunt and promised to send him a rescue party. The rescue did arrive but after seven more months had gone by, which Ashton spent surviving on wild plants and tortoise eggs.

Robert Drury

Drury’s tale is more of an experience from fiction rather than an actual survival story; most survival stories span over a short period of time, but Drury had to spend years after years trying to figure out how to survive. On board an English trading ship The Degrave in 1702 Drury and other sailors had to escape the sinking ship after it was damaged in a storm. The only possible survival lied on an island in Madagascar, a place the crew knew nothing about. While on the island the sailors were chased by 2,000 Tandroy warriors who wanted to kill the intruders. The crew successfully evaded the Warriors for four days before getting captured by the Tandories.

The indigenous warriors killed all the sailors except Drury and four other boys. Drury was spared only to serve as the personal manservant to the tribe’s leader. After eight long years of hard work and servitude to the leader Drury had earned some respect and was granted some freedom to marry and raise his own livestock. After almost fifteen years on the island, Drury had his chance to escape the Madagascar, his wife refused to join him, and he left alone for England. He struggled to find a place back in the English society and in a bizarre twist had to return back to Africa, this time, as a slaver.

 

 
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