Wilse relates how the Old Parker "lunged and pitched and rolled in the heavy seas. Her bow would come up out of the water snapping the chains taut and threatening to tear out the hawseholes.
For five days they battled the sea.
"On the fifth day we thought the vessel was a goner and all hands with her. The wind was at its peak when the biggest wave began to make. It rolled toward us, gaining size by gathering to it the seas it overtook. It grew larger and larger as though intending to finish what the wind had begun.
"...Up, up and up it reared, until its crest towered above the 'old girl's' bowsprit in awesome green might.
"All hands were lashed to life lines. The ship had just buried her bow in the sea in front of the mountain of water that was rushing at her. She couldn't lift from the suction that had her under water to the cathead. The towering wave curled under and broke in a deluge of pent-up fury.
"The crippled vessel was swamped and helpless under tons of swirling water that swept her from stem to stern. We were nearly drowned before the sea cleared our decks. When we could see the vessel through the clashing water, a shambles greeted us."
In spite of the beating, the Old Parker survived, and made it to New York.
Wilse described his first visit to the city: "I went ashore with Captain Monroe, and gaped at the tall buildings, staring at the strange sights. I bumped into people. I felt the old navigator's eyes on me.
"'Dag-nab-it, Wilse Jackson.' he said, 'pull your eyes in. They're sticking out so far I could stand on one and saw the other off. You act so dad-blame green if there were any cows around they would eat you for grass.' He was glad to get me back aboard ship."
-- A gimlet is a small tool for hand drilling holes in wood (see photo below).
-- hawseholes are holes in the hull of a ship through which the hawsers (thick rope used for mooring) or chains are passed.
-- a cathead is a heavy wooden beam projecting from the side of the bow, and used to support the anchor.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of slavery on Ocracoke. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092111.htm.