Lucky start

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I had recently become famous for a dangerous mission mapping the Nile River.
Mr Michael Johnson the Governor of Washington sent a telegram to ask if I would map the Missouri River.
New settlers were arriving from all over the world and needed maps to follow into this new land.

My name is Brett Hudson, I am 27 years old, and I can't resist a challenge or an adventure.
I asked a few questions in my reply to the Governor I then accepted this new mission.
I purchased all the books and charts I could find before setting sail for Georgetown on the Shannon.
I studied them while on the voyage, they left me with more questions than answers, and this new land was not well documented.

My fame had reached the ship's Captain who had a copy of The Amazing Adventure Times, the paper that had published my Nile River storey he asked me to dine with him.
We swapped stories on our lives and adventures Captain Edd Sampson, asked me how I got my start and the mission.
I told him that after working for my uncle Brice Hackett as a surveyors apprentice from the age of ten. He died from pneumonia when I was sixteen, in his will he left me a sum of money to study at Oxford University.
I studied Cartography to learn to map as the world was being explored now fast. This craft was in demand more now than any other time for mapping and charts.

I then spent five years on several ships mapping islands and inlets of many coastal regions.
On my last voyage I worked for a French company mapping the African coast.
I woke one morning to hear cannons firing; I rushed to the deck to see a ship approaching from the rising sun.
Our small ship had anchored off a beach on the eastern side of the island of Madagascar. Our crew had gone ashore the day before to get water and fruits. The larger ship came alongside then they boarded our ship then took whatever valuables they could from us.

We were then taken to the beach and marooned though our captain Ed Marcone tried to negotiate with them but couldn't speak their language. He tried to tell them that we had nothing of worth that his old ship was on its last voyage as it was full of woodworm. We were thankful not to be harmed as they were a fierce-looking bunch. Also thankful to have been where we could survive we had freshwater food and shelter.

The twelve of us did not know if the island was inhabited or not, it was an enormous island.
The many sounds I could hear through the thick jungle told of many birds and animals.
There was a large freshwater stream flowing into the sea, I walked up the stream into the dense jungle on several occasions.
I discovered strange wildlife; I only wished I had my sketchbook with me.
The beach had steep cliffs on both sides with the jungle behind the beach. We took turns in climbing the cliff looking for another ship as this was the only way we could escape this place.

We built a signalling fire in preparation then after five long weeks a ship arrived. The signal fire was lit and we were hoping that it was not another pirate ship. The ship then anchored and a boat came ashore, our captain recognised the ship, so he went to meet the shore party. They said that they travel to Java to get spices and call here to get fresh water; we helped to collect water then boarded their ship for Spain. I was so thankful to see Madagascar disappearing in the distance.
On the voyage I felt so glad I was safe, then realised that I had lost almost five months worth of my work, mapping the coastal islands and inlets of the African continent.
On returning to my employer he expressed his sympathy, he then said that three months after we left on our voyage a Dutch ship had completed the task.

News of our plight had reached the publisher of The Amazing Adventure Times, a worldwide popular monthly publication.
The publisher tried to contact captain Marcone but he had left on a new ship to Java.
He contacted me and asked if I was able to tell the story, I was an avid reader of the publication and jumped at the chance.
I put a great deal of effort into the story with illustrations, when the publisher read it he arranged a meeting with Lord Stanley, the business owner. We met at a gentleman's club; I presented him with a folder which contained some of my maps and artwork with stories of my recently completed voyages.

Lord Stanley said it's exactly what I am looking for; your story on the pirate saga was well presented.
To have someone able to tell a story well and be able to add such accurate artwork as you is very rare.
He said how did you learn to do such illustrations?
I told him that when I had idle time as a young apprentice, I would look at a bird then shut my eyes to let the image stay in my memory. I could draw it later from the stored image in my head, and because I believed that it would work then it did.
I was able to sketch bird's animals and plants with a degree of accuracy within a few days of seeing them.
Madagascar was the real test as it was many weeks after seeing those strange creatures, that I got the chance to do sketches on the voyage back. I would wake in the night with the image clear in my head, turn on the lamp and capture the image on paper.
That's extraordinary said Lord Stanley many artists would love to have that gift.

I have been searching for someone of your abilities to take on a mission mapping what is may be the longest river in the world the Nile. He said this trip needed accurate artwork great stories to keep the readers glued.
Then as well as the all-important accurate mapping he said you have it all. I explained that I was not a writer nor pretended to be, he said all you needed to do is keep it interesting.
The academic side is not that important to our readers. I said I thought only the Royal Geographical Society took on such matters. He said the world has a thirst for discovery and adventure I am giving them what they want. We then talked for about an hour, Lord Stanley was very enthusiastic about this mission,
He said he had many successful missions in Africa and currently had a team of Archaeologists in Egypt.
Our readers could not get enough stories from that mysterious place.
He then got to discuss finances he said as there was no way to estimate such a mission. Leave it to me there were many wealthy individuals within the club who would come on board.
He said I would receive a salary then be well rewarded should my mission be successful.
I will receive a commission on the sales of the publication as well.

I enjoyed dining with Captain Stanley we had several evenings together swapping stories.
I asked him about the ships past history he said that the ship had a dark past. There were many deaths from disease from overcrowding and poor food. I fought for two years to fix these problems this is the first voyage with those problems addressed.
The passengers now have health checks, the ships passenger numbers were reduced from 300 to 250, then lastly much better food.
Captain Stanley said before this he sailed a passenger ship called the Ellenora for three years, then this ship replacing it two years ago it was larger and faster and easier to handle.
I also sailed whaling ships for many years then tried to settle down back in Cornwall, but went back to the sea, I guess I am a bit like you and need a challenge.

On the voyage I spent time chatting to many of the passengers as I could then documented their stories.
Governor Johnson was right about the influx of people from all over the world coming to the new land, for a new life and new start as the passengers of the ship indicated.
Most of the people were young men, some young married couples and a few single women, the majority were from England because of overcrowded London, the middle-class people who were able to get out did.
Other travellers came from Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany, Italy and Holland.
The stories of struggle and hopelessness in their past, drove them to take this voyage into the unknown, desperate people will take a chance to find that new life in this new land.

Read part 2 The New Land

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