On this day in 1610, two small ships, Patience and Deliverance, dropped anchor in Virginia. No big deal, except that they long had been thought lost at sea, and then one day—today—voilà! They just show up! It was like Cast Away, except that rather than find Helen Hunt with another man, they find a colony on the brink of the abyss (see Starving Time). It’s bittersweet, in other words, and after a few weeks, they decide to give up.
So, to recap: the Sea Venture is lost at sea and ends up on Bermuda, where most everyone miraculously befriends a volleyball named Wilson … after which they arrive in Virginia only to find most everyone dead. They understandably give up but then,
literally on their way out the door, they run into the new governor, Thomas West, twelfth baron De La Warr, who has tons of food and supplies and insists they turn around and give it another go. It’s bittersweet, in other words, and fodder, I pray, for Shakespeare.
Or Tom Hanks. Whichever.
IMAGE: A map of Bermuda printed in Amsterdam in 1640 by the noted cartographer William Janzon Blaeu; courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia