Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tramp Steamer to Yian


In 5886, as part of Gillam M. Bezoar’s Exotic Port’s O’Call newsreel travelogue series, writer Dan Carmody and a camera man shipped out from San Tiburon on a tramp steamer, the S.S. Venture, bound for Hyaishang, Yian. Here are excerpts from the notes Carmody made on the journey...

Only a couple of hours out from the port of San Tiburon. Capt. Clanton points out the islands called “The Teeth”--no doubt a name given them due to their appearance, or perhaps its because of the sharks that infest the waters around them. The Captain reports a story he’s many times heard in a waterfront dives that the isles are a sacred spot to sea devils who rise from the depths on moonless nights to worship their demon god-fish--some gigantic prehistoric shark, the tales reckon--in gruesome rites.

Four days out and we arrive in Pyronesia. This archipelago is every bit the tropical paradise it's often made out to be. We were there for two days, and I managed to make a trip (as close as I dared) to the volcanic peak of the Big Island. I glimpsed a lava child rising from the flows beneath; my native guide suggested we give them wide berth. They’re rarely hostile, but given their size and nature, it isn’t hard to see how their simple-minded playfulness could be dangerous.

Capt. Clanton’s skirt-chasing got him into trouble on one of the nameless islands of Oceania. A tribe of amazonian women seeking help from the spirits in their incessant warfare with the crabmen of the neighboring atoll decided to offer up Clanton and a crewman as sacrifices to their tiki idol. Only timely intervention of the first mate saved them.

On the subject of the crabmen: these odd humanoids are a common sight on the smaller islands throughout the south seas.  The belligerence between them and the human islanders is total; they attack each other on sight.  No islander I met even knows if the crabmen are capable of speech.  Certainly, the crabmen never initiate negotiation themselves.  Strangely, neither I nor any of the crew have ever seen a crabwoman.  I have seen odd wooden idols among the natives carved in the form of voluptuous human females with crustacean claws for hands.  In contrast to the almost obscene detail lavished on the bodies of these fetishes, the faces are carved smooth and featureless. Clanton (always one with a sea story) says that he has heard that these idols are images of the goddess of the crabmen, brood mother to them all, who is also held in superstitious dread by the natives.

A sailor off a Yianese junk traded me this print of a rather contemplative Demon Islander for a pack of Djinn cigarettes. We didn’t visit (for obvious reasons) the so-called Demon Islands. The red-skinned, horned humanoids inhabiting the archipelago live in a warrior-based society still ruled by the sword. Barely beyond a medieval level of technology, their raiding parties are only dangerous to their closest neighbors--though grim stories are told of the fate of those shipwrecked on their shores.

9 comments:

Christian said...

That is my kind of boat trip. Great photos and wonderful text. Very well done!

ze bulette said...

Excellent idea to set it up as a travelogue... great write up! Nice inclusion of a lava child too.

Jayson said...

Fascinating implications here.

Trey said...

Thanks guys. Glad you liked it.

ancientvaults said...

Another superb post.
That Captain Clanton situation almost happened to me ages ago in SE Asia. One needs to be careful when out skirt chasing in strange places.

Trey said...

Words of wisdom, Bat. Words of wisdom.

Lagomorph Rex said...

to steal a bit from South park..


Crrraaaabbbb people. tastes like crab, talk like people.


also, hurrah Clawful.

Trey said...

Clawful indeed. I felt it was time he got his due.

ancientvaults said...

Oh, don't get me wrong, I wasn't struggling like the old Captain was....:)