Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Captain Darling and the Great Easter Island Excursion!


Well thanks to a great pickup from Arcane Scenery & Models namely a DeeZee Miniatures Easter Island Head Statue in 1/56 scale I have been given a reason to spout some drivel…ah I mean to retell one of Captain Darlings many anecdotes…I hope you enjoy…

Early February 1877 Captain Darling found himself restless and at a loose end after viewing the grand launch of the USLS Lexington. This situation didn’t suit him he was a man of action a ‘do it now’ sort of Victorian Gentleman Officer! What with there being no wars in which to garner glory in raging or local insurrections around Her Glorious Majesty’s Empire in need of quelling he turned his mind to adventure and roaming!

After completeing the mind-numbing trip north from Virginia he enjoyed his leisure spending a relaxing Saturday afternoon in lower Manhattan at a small Beverage Emporium named after its Native American owner, Chief Little StarBuck. As he sipped his tasty beverage he pondered on whether it would be possible to brew the same tasting coffee in many different outlets around the vast globe selling it to the masses thereby creating a virtual coffee empire… He discussed it with the owner for a while and then while settling back into his comforatable chair his continued thoughts on a “coffee empire” were interrupted as he noticed an article in the New York Exhibitionist a tawdry paper he regularly read the steam engine articles in eulogizing on the mysteries of Easter Island a small speck of barren land located in the remote vastness of the Pacific Ocean….so with his caffeine driven gander up he decided on the spot that he must travel to Easter Island and post haste!

Unfortunately for the good Captain there were no regular services by any reputable shipping company that visited Easter Island. No problem he thought he’d charter a boat and include ‘rounding the horn’ in this his latest escapade! To further add to the adventure the vessel he chartered for the voyage captained by Edgar Tuthill was the Mary Celeste, he commented off handedly to an attractive woman friend, “This’ll tickle the interest of those bounders from my London Club!”

So travelling light with just 12 trunks and two native porters Captain Darling’s voyage of discovery began late February 1877!

To cut a long story short dear reader what seemed an exciting idea in a Manhattan Beverage Emporium turned out to be a long sea voyage filled with average victuals (mind you washed down with very good reds from trunk #2), endless views of the ocean, no stop nausea and the tedious company of the ship’s Captain and crew punctuated with a brief but enthralling stay on Easter Island itself and then a long passage back to Manhattan with the exact same experiences of the outward journey.

Little detail is known of this trip of Captain Darlings as his personal papers are still held in confidence and the Mary Celeste’s log was lost when she foundered in suspicious circumstances several years later.

All that has come to light from this period is a single picture Darling took of himself using his camera on a steady tripod and triggered off by a water driven timing device (his knowledge of Classical Greece and the works of Ctesibius being very helpful here!)…

Captain Darling's 1877 'selfie' posing by one of the Moai stone idols found on Easter Island

Next time – most probably an AAR but I still have some other scratch building stuff to write up too…

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