Monday, August 31, 2015

a brief and tragic history

The cruise bookshelf is complete with the arrival of "A KINGDOM STRANGE, The Brief and Tragic History of the Lost Colony of Roanoke" by James Horn.  

The story of the 118 men, women and children who tried to establish England's first colony in North America has always fascinated me, and that fascination has grown since since I've spent quiet evenings walking the grounds of the colony on Roanoke Island.  I've read a handful of books about the disappearance, with many speculating that at least some of the colonists went south to Hatteras Island and assimilated into the Native American tribes there.  One book suggested that a few members of the colony were sold into slavery and used to work mines in copper mines in the mountains.  And yet another reported that the colony headed north and built a village just a few miles from where I am sitting in my home north of the Virginia/North Carolina line.

Like many good mysteries, the disappearance of the colony might be solved with a clue that was hidden in plain sight.  John White, the artist, ethnographer and governor of the colony on Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks, had drawn a map known as La Virginea Pars.  The 1585 map, which shows the area from the mouth of Chesapeake Bay south to Cape Lookout, had two paper "patches" covering small portions of the chart.  Thought to be put in place to make corrections to the map, recent studies show that one patch covered up the symbol for fort or colony site at Salmon Creek, just across Albemarle Sound from present day Endenton.  The distance from Roanoke Island to Salmon Creek is about 50 miles.  John White, after the disappearance of the colony, gave testimony about a possible colony site 50 miles inland.  Now labelled Site X, archeological digging has found evidence that members of the colony may well have been there.    

The New York times recently published a story about the dig near Salmon Creek, which you can read here, though I will take exception to the author's description of "two cypress swamps teeming with venomous snakes."  I've been in a lot of cypress swamps.  Yes there are snakes there and yes some are venomous.  But "teeming" sounds a little excessive.

A KINGDOM STRANGE was written two years before the discovery of the hidden fort symbol, but the author, Mr. Horn, has been involved in the current research and it will be interesting to see how he wrote about the colony prior to learning of the Salmon Creek site.  

The other book on Spartina's shelf, or rather in a plastic tub, will be T. C. Boyle's SAN MIGUEL.  One book about Roanoke Island, the other about one of California's Channel Islands, I must like islands.


I bought a dozen mini-cheese rounds, about one ounce each and wrapped in wax.  They store very well without refrigeration and make excellent afternoon snacks when sliced and put on crackers.  And I bought a half dozen one ounce packets of peanut butter and honey, which should also go well with crackers.  

A pack of 20 lithium batteries will be arriving this evening from Amazon.

I've drained and recharged the GOAL ZERO power pack two times to keep it fresh.

The Honda 2.3 hp outboard has new oil and spark plug.

All the gear is migrating to my youngest daughter's old room, where it will stay until I do a final packing in about two weeks.

I have my two Luminaid lights near the window to charge, but suspect they were still fully charged from the spring cruise.

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