Cam Renton has been an apprentice for a year when he arrives at Liverpool to join the crew of the Langdale, a cargo ship heading for Barbados and the Spanish Main. He is working towards becoming an officer and someday captain of his own ship. Because he is dissatisfied with the progress of his training, he asks the Chief Mate for assignment to one of the night watches rather than to routine day-work. The mate gives him short shrift, and during the outward voyage the two are at odds.
Rankling under a sense of injustice, Cam devises a scheme to make the mate think he is haunted by a whistling poltergeist. However, he soon realizes this is childish and futile.
When they reach the Venezuela, Cam takes a rare opportunity to go ashore at Boca del Sol, a fictional seaport. He and his bunkmate Rusty find themselves in the local prison after a misunderstanding. Cam executes a daring escape, but Captain Carey already has the matter well in hand, and he tells Cam a few home truths showing him that he is getting an excellent training in seamanship, thanks to the mate.
Afterward Cam starts to work and study in earnest, and his knowledge of navigation and semaphore are put to use when he becomes part of a skeleton crew aboard a salvaged derelict.
Read more about this topic: Sea Change (Armstrong Novel)
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