Part 1 - Days 1-4
When the weyrlings arrived on the foredeck, they found H'lee with a map tacked out on a table. Although it was warmer here than at the Weyr, the breeze cutting across the deck as the ship's sails unfurled and began tugging the ship out to sea raised goosebumps on the man's arms, which were bare. He grinned at the weyrlings, "When you've traveled between as often as I have, this little nip in the air will feel like nothing."
He had them all crowd around the table while he pointed out their route to Snowy Hold. He explained that they put in at Snowy because it was a shorter distance from that Hold to the Academy than from Aurora. He also indicated a specific point on the map, just past Tillek Hold. "At that point, we'll not be able to get fresh herdbeast or wherry until we near Snowy Hold. Weather permitting, that should only be 3-4 days of the trip."
After answering any questions about their route, the First Mate of the Gypsy Guernsey requested their attention and demonstrated the harnesses that they were, as of this moment, required to wear and handed out harnesses to each of them. "If you're a Senior Journeyman sailor or fisher, show your credentials to me and you don't have to wear the harness. Everyone else has to wear it!" H'lee clipped his riding straps in. The ties clipped to a metal rail that ran around the inside of every railing on the ship; at each place where the rail was attached to the frame, a short strap was placed. When navigating the ship, the weyrlings would need to stop, clip this strap to their harness, then unclip the longer strap from the rail and move it past the bracer. Fortunately, the bracers were few and far between; the point was they were to be attached to the ship any time they were on the deck, although they didn't have to wear the harness and clips when below deck. The First Mate also demonstrated the lifeboats to the. "Your Weyrlingmaster will explain what is done about your dragons in the event that these need to be used."
H'lee took them below deck to the deck where their dragons were stationed and showed them that the doors slid back. "Each day when you bathe your dragons, you'll open this, put on your harness and your dragons will also be harnessed and tethered." He indicated the harnesses that hung next to each stall. "The ship will slow, although it won't stop completely or we'll lose headway. You will get inside these rowboats, two to a boat, so four of you can bathe at a time. The boats are tied to the ship, as your dragons will be, so you will be being towed along a bit. Your harness will be attached to the boat."
By now, a couple of weyrlings were looking a little green. "For those who aren't up to climbing out, your dragons can go ahead and go for a dip, then climb back in to be scrubbed as often as needed to get them clean. Everyone WILL be harnessed and attached to either the hooks by the doors or stalls or to the rowboats during bath time. If you fall out the doors, you'll be so far behind the ship before anyone can react that it'll be extremely difficult for us to find you again."
With that, he led the weyrlings down a deck to get buckets of meat - including fish - for their now-hungry weyrlings. Hard to believe that boarding and getting briefed on the ship would take so long. Before H'lee left, he produced a large bag of something that looked like candies. "If you get to feeling seasick, take one of these and chew on it. They taste like something a Healer would make - and they are - but they'll settle your stomachs. I'd also recommend staying horizontal on your bunks as much as possible until you get used to the routine and the motion of the ship. I don't expect you to eat as much the first couple of days until you get used to it. For those of you who are able to eat, food's in the galley and will be ready by the time you feed your starving friends."
A few hours later, he reappeared to take the weyrlings down to get more food for their dragons. "Oil your dragons and get yourselves to sleep. I'll be waking you again in a few more hours for your midnight feeding, if your dragons haven't woken you already! Tomorrow morning, we'll hit the galley for breakfast and then resume your regular lessons."
For the next four days, H'lee roused them at midnight, 3am, and 6am, as was their normal routine. He ushered them off to the galley for breakfast and made even the nauseous ones eat a small piece of jerky and a biscuit. He didn't push them hard during their exercises and oversaw their bathing routine, helping out those who were seasick. Again at lunch, he made everyone eat at least a little. The afternoon classes were quite tame compared to some of what they'd reviewed back that the Weyr; the observant would realize that covering gory injuries and internal organs would likely make those who were already nauseous feel even more sick.
They reached Southern Boll around mid-morning on the second day. The next two days were spent getting around the cape below that Hold.
Part 2 - Days 5-10
The morning after they rounded the cape, the day dawned with a brilliant red sky. Someone muttered the old adage, Red sky at morning, sailors take warning. H'lee overheard, though he didn't identify the speaker, and acknowledged the statement. "Too true. We'll do as much exercise as possible, but then we'll all get below deck."
The squall that hit them seemed to toss the boat about like a toy in a bathtub. H'lee recommended those who were most affected strap themselves to their bunks and stay put. He and any weyrlings not affected by the storm gave the dragons a bucket scrub rather than their usual baths and oiled them until all the dragons had been taken care of. H'lee spotted a few instances of thicktail starting, too. When he found the first one, he explained, "Dragons can get seasick, too, but it doesn't usually come out the end it went in!" He made these dragons come to one of the doors, which he opened only as wide as necessary to get their tails out. He showed all those who were still on their feet how to massage the tail to trigger a purge; since they'd all been fed precise portions and were on a strict schedule, they hadn't had any cases of thicktail at the Weyr.
The squall passed them by in about two hours, but when getting their bearings afterward, the Captain found they'd been pushed south despite their best efforts. It cost them half a day's sailing to make up the lost ground. No further major delays were encountered until they reached Tillek Hold.
Part 3 - Days 11-15
In Tillek, they lost another half-day of sailing in port as cargo from Fort was unloaded and cargo bound for Snowy loaded. They set sail again under clear evening skies.
Four days into this trek, humans and dragons alike were getting tired of fish. However, they'd been joined by a pod of dolphins who played with the youngsters in the water and provided entertainment for the humans. That evening, a glow lit the sky to the southwest of them. One dolphin leaped from the water and rang the ship bell with a loud clang. The Captain and First Mate rushed to one of the lifeboats and put over; a few minutes later they came back up, looking grim. "One of the Western Isles blew her top, that's what the glow's from. We'll be in for a massive tidal wave. Sorry, H'lee, but this is going to hold you up at least a day. The dolphins will let us know when the wave's approaching so we can get turned into it. Best get your youngsters below and batten down the hatches tight behind you."
If the weyrlings thought they'd been tossed about by the squall, the tidal wave was at least as bad, but in a different way. Instead of repeated up and down, side to side motions, this started as a gradual tilt toward the stern of the ship, followed by a long moment where all sensation of motion stopped, with a final plummet that seemed as though the ship was turned vertically up on its prow, like they were diving straight for the seabed. Even H'lee looked ill and clamped his teeth around a scream; not all the weyrlings were as stoic. Then a shudder caused every beam in the ship to creak and the ship wallowed frighteningly to one side before righting herself.
One of the deckhands appeared a few minutes later. "That was the worst one, but there are at least four more behind it. Captain's going to try to make some headway going south."
H'lee explained why they were moving away from Snowy: "If we move west, we run the risk of being thrown onto one of the other Isles during another of these waves. South, closer to the source, and the waves will be smaller." His voice sounded faint.
The next six waves were repetitions of the first, although by the end of the fourth one, they no longer felt the shudder at the bottom of the dropped and were no longer in danger of capsizing. At that point, the Captain himself came down to reassure the group that the worst was over. "We've been pushed pretty far north. I think we can get in behind one of the Isles and ride out the rest in the lee of land. Hopefully, the Isles broke the worst of the waves and Snowy won't have gotten too battered."
Part 4 - Days 16-17
After riding out the rest of the tidal waves in the lee of one of the larger islands, they limped into port on the morning of their 17th day out. One of the timbers in the lowest deck had cracked under the strain and the weyrlings had been recruited to help bail every couple of hours. Their regular classes and duties, outside of feeding and oiling their dragons, were suspended for the last two days of the trip.
T'lon and several other Assistant Weyrlingmasters were waiting for them at the docks; their dragons could be seen off away to the side with ropes dangling from their sides and claws as they helped move wreckage and debris from the tidal wave. Their human partners helped unload the young dragons and their riders before directing them to an empty, but toasty-warm, barn. The riders were strongly encouraged to get their dragons settled in and then help out around the Hold wherever their skills were needed; however, H'lee said those who were ill or injured were not required to assist. With that statement, he went off with Seeth to see what they could do to help; as a healer and rider, he was in high demand.