Sunday, July 5, 2015

15,000 Miles From The Past {7}

Date: January ??, 1938
Location: Isla Incognita
Situation: Day 7 Next Destination
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Important Suggestion: Reread Chapter 6, Day 4 Ashore On The Island here:

Day 7:  von Stiehl's Journal
Aboard Gunboat Luchs: 4:35 am

"Our next destination is expected to come into view soon. Before going to the bridge I took another opportunity to study the Isla Incognita map prepared by Obergefreiter Jürgen Krüger. Using the sketch from my brief landing in 1918, he added details from our recent four days ashore. By my order, lines of latitude and longitude were not included to maintain secrecy should the map be seen by unwelcome eyes."

"Seven days ago we returned to my 1918 anchorage in Northwest Bay. A camp was established adjacent to a beach and impenetrable wooded ridge. Our primary mission was to cross the deadly River Styx as I named it and march deep inland to...."

"Empty a cave of forgotten Spanish treasure looted from South America three hundred years before."

"Though our modern weapons quickly stopped indigenous people and territorial beasts disputing our presence, we were greatly relieved to return to camp at the end of the fourth day. Our regrettable losses were few. During the next two days nothing of significance happened. We loaded our ships with the treasure and weighed anchor for our next destination...."

"A deep inlet on the north shore." 

"My nescience regarding features west of the inlet is nearly absolute. I apprehend only this singular possibility. West of the inlet there may be a temple filled with more treasure. I know this by means of an incredible coincidence."

"Last year I was in Seville on military assignment. Long ago Seville was a main port for sailings to and from Spanish New World colonies. I was the guest of Diego Francisco Robles. On one occasion we discussed my properties on the Island of Malabascar. Hoping I would be interested, he offered a curious letter dated 1672. It described remarkable adventures of a distant relative washed ashore onto a strange South Pacific tropical isle."

"The relative had been third officer aboard the treasure galleon La Trinidad bound for Seville. A gale lasting two days dismasted the ship. Though stubby jury rigged masts and spars eventually helped with steerage way, the vessel had been driven very far off course into an unknown region. One night in a sudden fog it foundered on an uncharted island's north coast. The relative was the only survivor. After incredible perils ashore including temporary imprisonment in a temple, he built an outrigger boat, set sail to the north and was two weeks at sea before being rescued by a passing Dutchman. A map in the letter showed a deep inlet on the north coast. Apparently the temple was to the westward housing some of La Trinidad's treasure. Robles asked if I knew of Isla Incognita."  

Still Aboard Luchs: 5:47 am

"One hour ago I was called to the bridge for our arrival near the inlet that would take us deep inland. There was a slight haze but it did not trouble us."

"However, it suddenly transformed into a thick fog engulfing us in minutes. I entertained a foolish notion the island wanted us to founder like La Trinidad."

"Our view ahead became greatly diminished. The captain immediately gave the order to reduce speed as a commotion occurred amidships."

"Out of the fog a sea creature of enormous proportions lifted it's long neck above the upper deck."

"One of our seamen taken unawares was shockingly thrust overboard in seconds!"

"After swallowing the man whole, it nimbly altered course, paralleled us and increased speed."

"Someone grabbed a rifle, but the toothy denizen submerged before he could aim. Isla Incognita had reduced our numbers again. The shocked crew vowed to be more vigilant."

"Fortunately the fog became evanescent. It was as if it formed and dissipated solely at the bidding of the sea monster but I kept these thoughts to myself. Soon we were able to see more of our surroundings again. A lookout then pointed to the estuary and handed his telescope to me."

"Canoes were paddling toward us. No doubt surprised as we were to see them, they reversed course and swiftly disappeared up river. Now our arrival would soon be known across the whole island. Surprise was lost. Never the less it was time to disembark our men, supplies and establish a base camp."

Ashore Again: 4:00 pm

"Our supplies were temporarily arranged in the center of the beach until the camp was established. Tentage would be set before sundown."

"First section's screen supported by a mortar and two-man machine gun crew protected us."

"Pushing into the interior was not in the orders of the day. I was confident our firepower ashore and in our gunboats close off shore would protect us from hostile eventualities today. Tomorrow we will enhance the perimeter with a bushy zariba"

"Everyone remembered hostilities from the march from Northwest Bay inland a few days ago. Vigilance especially after the loss of the seaman today was at a very high level of alertness."

"Everything was in order. I took a moment to relax when Leutnant Mahlern told me...."

"Your son Rudi's canoe has been sighted rounding an islet. This means our flotilla is complete with
Gunboats Luchs and Ajax plus U-100. That was the best news."

Dream Or Vision?: 11:50 pm

"It was my duty to imagine the reaction of the natives in the flotilla seen earlier today. Upon sighting us they quickly turned about racing away. They would urgently desire to report our appearance. Perhaps some had perilously encountered us a few days before. Surely few on the island did not know about us."

"The boats would stop at a customary landing and crews would disembark to...."

"Move swiftly inland. I fancied they would pass totems built to warn trespassers. Perhaps they crossed this watery land by one of the suspension bridges mentioned in the letter of Robles' relative."

"They would hurry to villages exhorting everyone to assemble and defeat the invaders. I reasoned they could not be properly organized for three or four days."

"Meanwhile, our camp was established."

"Later blazing fires were built to ward off animals and it became time to bed down for the night."

"Yet after a few hours of troubled sleep I rose and dressed. Gefreiter Dietrich told me the time was ten minutes before midnight. I ordered my guard Volke, to request that my son come to see me."

"I told Rudi my vexing dream. I hesitated to call it a vision of things to come."

"I dreamt of natives gathering in conclave. Excited orations would bring forth plans and then...."

"They would go forth across the island seeking friends and foes to defeat us."

"Warriors of the tidal marsh! Summon the Goraloks of the waterfall. Others would be told off to seek allies even among their bitter enemies. Perhaps some would be man eaters; cannibals!"

"In the dream they quickly scattered seeking reinforcements. All the while a great drum beat was heard enhancing the pace and sounding the alarm signifying a shocking danger was at hand."

"I apologize awakening you to listen to my description. It was very real. I thought you should know."

"Father, your dream is logical under the circumstances. --- Wait. Do you hear something far away?"

BOOM BOOM boom --------------- BOOM BOOM boom --------------- Repeat


1) Celebrated author Arthur Conan Doyle wrote in Memories and Adventures, p.229, "We were steaming past Ægina on a lovely day with calm water around us. The captain, a courteous Italian, had allowed us to go upon the bridge, and we - my wife and I - were looking down into the transparent depths when we both clearly saw a creature which has never, so far as I know, been described by Science. It was exactly like a young ichthyosaurus, about four feet long, with thin neck and tail, and four marked side-flippers. I was interested to notice that Admiral Anstruther in the 'Evening News' some years later described, and drew, an exactly similar creature which he had seen off the Irish coast. This old world has some surprises for us yet." 

2) The crew of Luchs did not see an ichthyosaurus. However, do you not hope with me that the plesiosaurus they did see and Doyle's ichthyosaurus may exist in the waters of Isla Incognita and elsewhere now?

3) Pulp Figures manufactures most of the natives ashore as well as the drum and drummer. Schleich produces the plesiosaurus. The suspension bridge is from Miniature Building Authority. Luchs is a gunboat crafted by Richard Houston through The Virtual Armchair General. The U-Boat is from Brigade Games. Ditto for most of the tropical Germans though some are Black Tree Design. The troubled von Stiehl is BTD's von Paulus. Native watercraft and crews are from Old Glory; Frontline Miniatures.

4) A great amount of vegetation was kindly loaned by pards Chuck L. and Todd B. Chuck made the cave from wood chips. Just wait till you see the rest of it! The singular prehistoric-looking trees are sold by Michael's craft stores in the USA.

5) German translations: Nordwest Bai: Northwest Bay. Höhle: cave. Vulkan: volcano. Lager: camp.

6) Was von Stiehl troubled by a dream or vision?

7) Retrieval of the old Spanish treasure is vital for the Weimar Republic, von Stiehl's secret benefactor and for each man in the expedition. They have superior weapons, sure. However, Isla Incognita has something unexpected waiting within its incredibly mysterious interior. Come back next time for the long and thrilling journey.

8) I will be obliged if your thoughts are written below at the word Comments.



  1. Ah, the beginning of yet another mysterious adventure. I look forward to reading more as you post it.

    -- Jeff

  2. That is absolutely amazing! Brilliant work! I've added your blog to my reading list :)

  3. Splendid, as always. I just love the way you do this.

  4. Amazing! This story and the visual effect just gets better and better!

  5. Another great chapter in an action packed adventure,
    Bill, are you sure the native boats and rowers are from Old Glory?

  6. Hi Everyone,
    I really appreciate your sentiments and the time you took to express them. Thanks YOU!
    Richard, Chuck tells me the native watercraft are from Frontline Miniatures 25mm ange. Colonial I think. http://www.frontlinewargaming.co.uk/25period.html
    Cheers for you all,
    Bill P.

  7. Richard

    The boats are from two different companies. The little ones are from Frontline and dont come with any rowers. RLBPS carries them in the US.

    The large native boat is from Old Glory and comes with a chief and nine rowers. Bill used some of the extra rowers to crew the smaller boats.

  8. Only just discovered this blog...... you`ve done it again. OUTSTANDING. I will be keeping a close eye on this one from now on, and will look forward to seeing the story open up and arc. I`m really quite excited actually.... yeeeey.