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The Belly of the Sea

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by Agustí Villaronga

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The Italian writer Alessandro Baricco narrates these events to the novel Oceano Mare, concentrated in a chapter titled The belly of the sea. June 1816. The frigate the Alliance, of the French Navy, ran aground on a sandbar off the coast of Senegal. To the attempts to free the hull prove futile, there is no choice but to abandon the ship. As the available boats are not enough to accommodate all the crew, build a raft about 12 meters long and 6 wide. In that boat precarious they force 147 men to board: soldiers, sailors, a few passengers and a few officers. The ship's evacuation plan foresees that the available boats will tow them up to the shore. Still, panic and confusion seize the convoy trying to reach the coast. Due to cowardice or ineptitude, the boats lose contact with the raft. The rope that towed him it breaks, or someone cuts it. The boats continue to approach land, but leave the raft at your luck. The current carries her away, and she disappears over the horizon. A horror that lasted for days and days. A scenario in which the worst of cruelties and the sweetest of pities.

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