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"A Winter's Tale" Essay

895 words - 4 pages

"A Winter's Tale" is the bone chilling story of the shipwreck of the Florizel. Many factors can be included when trying to explain why this great steal ice-breaker ran aground and therefore I will focus on the three reasons that are most important. Many people feel the ship was unfortunate in its voyage due to the weather conditions, others think it was because of human error, and still there are a few that think it was because of fate. I myself believe that these three factors combined brought the Florizel to her watery grave in Horn Head.The Florizel sailed from St. John's at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 22, 1918 in spite of the fact that a storm was raging outside the snug harbor of St. John's, Newfoundland. The ship had 138 people on board including 78 passengers. Of these passengers nine were women, and six were children. Captain Martin had already delayed the ship's sailing for over 3 hours, and did not want to delay any longer. " Regardless of storm signals, and warnings in the newspapers that the Toronto Weather Bureau was forecasting a gale with winds going around to the...Captain Martin that is would be nothing the Florizel could not handle...it would be a favorable one for the Florizel on her way to Halifax." (Page 34, par 2) Captain Martin was a man who put his trust in his own instincts first then in the Weather Bureau-- he knew the sea well, along with his ship. Shortly after leaving port, the weather changed for the worst. The high winds and treacherous seas made navigation extremely difficult, and the Polar current was against them. Captain Martin felt that in the nine hours the ship had been traveling southward they had cleared Cape Race, and decided to change course westward. Captain Martin took a chance by using his own instincts and he was not able to lower equipment to checks the speed of the ship. " 'Never mind, we can't use the log, we're in the ice'... the Captain estimated ; thick enough to keep the seas quiet but not thick enough to impede the Florizel's speed." (Page 34 par 3) After mistaking the white in the distance for ice, Martin continued on. "But the white line was not a string of ice, it was a white line of breakers 250 yards offshore from Horn Head Point, Cappahayden." The ship was still short of Cape Race. The Florizel piled onto the reef and fell on the rocks, hitting under number-two hold. The fore-topmast crashed to the foredeck while rocks gouged and tore her hull, leaving a gaping...

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